“Edward Snowden: Why the NSA whistleblower fled to Hong Kong”

June 10, 2013

The Christian Science Monitor on June 10, 2013 released the following:

“The man who leaked the NSA secrets to The Guardian newspaper says Hong Kong is one of the few places that both could and would resist the dictates of the US government.

By Peter Ford, Staff Writer

BEIJING

Edward Snowden, the man who leaked NSA secrets to The Guardian newspaper, has chosen either luckily or on extremely good advice by seeking refuge in Hong Kong from possible prosecution.

A quirk of judicial history means Mr. Snowden could be safe from any US attempt to extradite him “for months if not years,” according to one of the former British colony’s top legal experts, Simon Young.

Though it is unlikely Snowden would be able to spend the rest of his life in Hong Kong, he will be able to use the protections afforded by Hong Kong’s judicial system, which is independent of the Chinese government.

If Snowden chooses to ask for political asylum, says Professor Young, head of the Centre for Comparative and Public Law at Hong Kong University, “he is going nowhere” in the foreseeable future. A recent appeals court ruling, he explains, means that “the government cannot return anyone who claims that he will be persecuted” in the country he came from.

That is because Hong Kong’s asylum law is “a black hole,” Young says. In the wake of the court ruling last March, the government cannot continue simply to follow rulings by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on the merits of an asylum claimant’s case, as it has always done until now.

The Court of Final Appeal ruled that the government must independently determine the validity of asylum claims, but the authorities have devised no system for doing so. Legislation setting up such a system would take “months if not years,” says Young, and any administrative plan the government instituted before a law was passed would be subject to challenge in the courts.

“Short of a criminal group getting to him, I think he is safe here,” Young adds.

Snowden told The Guardian in an interview published Sunday that he had flown to Hong Kong on May 20, because “they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent.”

The Guardian also said he believed Hong Kong was “one of the few places in the world that both could and would resist the dictates of the US government.”

The United States and Hong Kong signed an extradition treaty in 1996, shortly before Hong Kong was returned to Chinese sovereignty. Article 6 provides that “a fugitive offender shall not be surrendered if the offence of which that person is accused or was convicted is an offence of a political character.”

If the US government does indict Snowden, and then asks the Hong Kong government to extradite him, the Chief Executive might refuse on the grounds of another clause in the treaty allowing him not to surrender a fugitive if doing so might implicate “the defense, foreign affairs or essential public interest or policy” of the Chinese government in Beijing.

“Hong Kong will have to take instructions from Beijing on this,” predicts Michael Davis, a Politics professor at Hong Kong University. “And I cannot see how Beijing benefits from tweaking the US” by refusing an extradition request.

Should Beijing and the Hong Kong government agree to an extradition, however, it would be subject to judicial approval, and Snowden could decide to argue in court that he leaked information about NSA spying programs for political reasons, portraying any crime of which he might be accused as “an offence of a political character.”

Snowden might not win such a case in the end; nor would the courts necessarily grant him asylum, even when the relevant laws and regulations have been approved, because they might not regard prosecution in a US court as “persecution.”

But “one can take full advantage of Hong Kong’s legal system to challenge issues that may arise … and that could take a long time,” predicts Young.

“He has made a very wise decision” to go to Hong Kong, adds the lawyer. “But I would counsel him to get legal advice.” ”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Hong Kong here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Iraq blocks US extradition for Hezbollah commander

August 6, 2012

Newsday on August 2, 2012 released the following:

“By The Associated Press LARA JAKES (Associated Press)

BAGHDAD – (AP) — An Iraqi court has rejected a request to send a Hezbollah commander to the United States for trial, a decision that likely ends the Obama administration’s push to prosecute the Lebanese militant held in Iraq for the 2007 killings of five American soldiers.

The U.S. believes Ali Mussa Daqduq is a top threat to Americans in the Middle East, and had asked Baghdad to extradite him even before two Iraqi courts found him not guilty of masterminding the 2007 raid on an American military base in the holy Shiite city of Karbala.

But the July 30 decision by the Iraqi central criminal court, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, ordered that Daqduq be freed immediately. It also makes it clear that Iraq believes the legal case against him is over.

“It is not possible to hand him over because the charges were dropped in the same case,” the three-judge panel ruled. “Therefore, the court decided to reject the request to hand over the Lebanese defendant Ali Mussa Daqduq to the U.S. judiciary authorities, and to release him immediately.”

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad declined to comment Thursday and referred questions about the case to Washington.

At the Pentagon, Defense spokesman Lt. Col Todd Breasseale said Daqduq “should be held accountable for his crimes. Period.” Breasseale said the Pentagon “will continue to work closely with the Iraqi government to explore all legal options to pursue justice in this case.”

In an AP interview last month, the national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden said the White House has asked Iraq’s highest appeals court to review and overturn its order to free Daqduq. It was not immediately clear Thursday whether that review was continuing.

Biden called Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Thursday to discuss unspecified issues between the U.S. and Iraq, according to a statement released by the premier’s office. The statement did not mention Daqduq, but Biden has been following the case closely and has asked Iraq’s government to keep the militant locked up for as long as legally possible.

Daqduq’s lawyer, Abdul-Mahdi al-Mitairi, said the militant is still being held under house arrest in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone. But he said he will push to have Daqduq released before the end of Ramadan, the ongoing Muslim holy month that ends later in August.

Washington believes the Lebanese-born Daqduq worked with Iranian agents to train Shiite militias to target the U.S. military during the years of sectarian violence that gripped Iraq over the last decade. His case has illustrated the tricky aftermath of the long U.S. military campaign in Iraq that ended last year and has elements of both Iraqi and U.S. internal politics.

Daqduq was detained for more than four years by the U.S. military before it left Iraq last December. He was handed over to Iraqi authorities as required when the troops left, amid a debate between the Democratic White House and Republicans in Congress over whether high-risk terror suspects should be brought to the U.S. for trial.

Republican lawmakers said Daqduq was too much of a public threat to be incarcerated on American soil, and wanted him to be held at the contentious military detention center at the Navy base on Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. President Barack Obama refused. He has promised to close the detention center at Guantanamo, which became a worldwide symbol of detainee abuses during the Republican administration of President George W. Bush.

Since then, two Iraqi courts have cleared Daqduq of the terrorism and forgery charges that Iraq’s government lodged against him. The new court order says the Pentagon issued the extradition request but did not specify when.

Iraqi government officials privately acknowledge they have little, if any, legal basis for continuing to detain him.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Iraq here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Ecuador’s ambassador calls for Bristol prosecutors to turn over evidence in Brockton slayings; warns of appeal by Luis Guaman

May 18, 2012

The Boston Globe on May 18, 2012 released the following:

“By Maria Sacchetti, Globe Staff

Ecuador’s ambassador to the United States this week rejected US Senator John F. Kerry’s request to extradite a man accused of a Brockton double murder, and urged Kerry to support Ecuador’s decision to prosecute him there, according to a letter released to the media today.

Ambassador Nathalie Cely said in a letter to Kerry that Ecuador had worked “tirelessly” to obtain evidence from Massachusetts prosecutors needed to keep Luis Guaman in prison in Ecuador, where the constitution bars extradition of Ecuadoran citizens.

An Ecuadoran court last month convicted the 42-year-old roofer for the February 2011 murders of a mother and son in Brockton, based largely on the evidence outlined in the US extradition request, and sentenced Guaman to 25 years in prison.

Guaman’s defense lawyer has appealed, and he has pointed out during the trial that Massachusetts prosecutors did not send any physical evidence to bolster the case.

Cely wrote Kerry that Ecuadoran prosecutors cannot violate the nation’s constitution, but in letter, which was dated Tuesday, she urged Kerry to help secure evidence that would “guard against any potential appeal.”

“While I appreciate your disappointment about the decision to not extradite Mr. Guaman, I hope that you will consider supporting my government’s effort to obtain the evidence requested from the Massachusetts judicial authorities so that we can ensure he remains incarcerated for his full sentence,” she wrote to Kerry.

Cely was responding to a May 10 request by Kerry, who chairs the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, that Ecuador return Guaman to Massachusetts. Kerry, who joined Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz and Senator Scott Brown in calling for the extradition, had expressed concern that Guaman could be freed in as little as 10 years, though the presiding judge in Guaman’s case said they expected him to serve the vast majority of his sentence.

In the letter, Cely pointed out that Ecuador has a long record of “active and ongoing” cooperation with the United States, including combating drug trafficking, terrorism, and human smuggling. She said Ecuador helped capture six Pakistani citizens involved in human trafficking last year.

Guaman, who lived in the United States illegally for almost two decades, has been indicted in Plymouth County for the bludgeoning deaths of his housemates Maria Avelina Palaguachi, 25, and her 2-year-old son Brian. He left the United States using another man’s passport hours after their bodies were found in a trash bin behind their house.

Cruz refused multiple requests from Ecuador to send evidence to bolster their case and called the trial a “sham.” Cruz has said that Ecuador’s constitution violates its preexisting extradition treaty with the United States and called for economic sanctions against the South American nation.

Cruz has also pointed out that Guaman would face a stiffer penalty of life in prison without parole in Massachusetts, if convicted.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Ecuador here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

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Extradition hearing today for mother of Hollywood arson suspect

May 17, 2012

Daily News Los Angeles on May 17, 2012 released the following:

“By Fred Shuster City News Service

LOS ANGELES – The mother of a man suspected of setting dozens of fires in Hollywood, West Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley over New Year’s weekend will face an extradition hearing today. | POLICE NEWS

Dorothee Burkhart, 53, is fighting extradition to her native Germany, where she is wanted on a host of fraud charges.

Attorneys for both sides are expected to argue before U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles F. Eick, who rejected a request to free Burkhart on bail pending today’s proceedings.

The woman has described herself as the sole link between her “mentally ill” son, Harry, and “the outside world.” Her 24-year-old son faces trial on dozens of arson-related charges stemming from the series of fires that terrorized Los Angeles over four nights at the start of the year.

“I was the person who was the bridge between the outside world and the inside of his brain,” Burkhart said at a previous hearing.

Her arrest pending extradition is thought to have sparked the arson rampage allegedly committed by her distraught son, her only child.

An attorney for Harry Burkhart asked Eick in court papers last week to temporarily suspend the extradition proceedings on the grounds that the mother is a key witness in her son’s case.

Dorothee Burkhart is accused in Frankfurt of subletting apartments that she did not own, failing to pay rent and security deposits on other locations, and defrauding a cosmetic surgeon out of about $10,000 for breast augmentation surgery for which she never paid, according to court papers.

The extradition process can take upward of a year, federal prosecutors said. It took about four months to extradite former TV producer Bruce Beresford- Redman to Mexico to face charges for the killing of his wife — an unusually short amount of time because Beresford-Redman decided not to appeal the judge’s extradition order.

Harry Burkhart faces 100 felony charges related to 49 blazes set between Dec. 30 and Jan. 2. Most of the fires began in automobiles but usually spread to homes in Hollywood, West Hollywood, Sherman Oaks and surrounding areas.

His bail has been set at $7.5 million. A trial date has not been set.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Germany here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

————————————————————–

International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call: mcnabb.mcnabbassociates

           Office Locations

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Manning trial a prelude to Assange’s extradition to US?

December 21, 2011

RT on December 21, 2011 released the following:

“Military officials have introduced evidence into the pre-trial hearing against alleged WikiLeaks contributor Bradley Manning with the whistleblower site’s mastermind Julian Assange.

While a tie between the two would allow the prosecution to pursue Private First Class Manning’s alleged suspected involvement in sending Assange top-secret military files, it could finally give the US a reason to extradite the WikiLeaks’s runner to the States.

American authorities have long attempted to tackle Assange for his role in WikiLeaks, a website that the US government insists has aided the enemy by publishing files that would otherwise be left for only a few Army intelligence personnel to see. According to America, any involvement Manning had with WikiLeaks could have caused great harm to the nation and a military tribunal is currently questioning witnesses to see if the case should continue before a jury. By formally introducing Assange into the equation, however, the government could be finally getting its chance to go after the WikiLeaks leader.

Currently under house arrest in England, Australia-born Assange is facing extradition to Sweden where he is wanted on charges stemming from allegations of a sexual assault against two former WikiLeaks volunteers. Currently the UK’s legal system is keeping Assange safe from extradition to America, but should Assange end up on trial, Sweden might be quick to send the whistleblower to America so he could stand trial in the Manning case — and perhaps much more.

“People think that because Sweden is a Western country that they have a legal system the same as ours, that’s completely untrue,” Assange’s mother told AAP last month. “From the time he hits Sweden, he is going to be lost to any kind of observation from anybody to understand if his human rights are being breached.”

“He’s been crucified for doing what he was brought up to do,” added Christine Assange.

American officials critical of WikiLeaks have hunted for Assange since before he aided in the release of thousands of classified diplomatic cables earlier this year that they say compromised American security and intelligence — former presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee even went as far as to wage the death penalty against Assange. As evidence in the Manning case ties the soldier with Assange, those charges could come sooner than Assange would like to see.

A former Obama administration official speaking under condition of anonymity tells Reuters that the US has long sought Assange, but could not go after him without going after the slew of newspapers that he leaked documents to as well. “The government is very serious about wanting to prosecute him. But they have never been able to find a way to do it. How do you prosecute Julian Assange and not the New York Times?” asks the official.

During Manning’s trial on Monday, the prosecution against the alleged whistleblower introduced computer logs which they say show that the soldier had contact information with Assange and had instructions on how to upload files to WikiLeaks. On Tuesday, Adrian Lamo, the hacker that turned Manning in to the government, also drew connections between the two.

In speaking of his own relationship with Manning, Lamo told the courtroom, “I believe that he was reaching out for affirmation and for a like-minded individual that would act as a similar figure in their life as Julian Assange.” When Staff Sergeant Peter Bigelow was asked about Assange, however, he admitted to the court that he had no idea who the man was. Given that searches of Assange’s named were carried out on a computer owned by Sgt. Bigelow, the denial does little to help the case of the Manning — nor does it show how up-to-snuff US military intelligence has been.

Manning is facing life in prison for nearly two dozen charges related to his alleged works with WikiLeaks. On Tuesday, Daniel Ellsberg, the former DoD insider that leaked the Pentagon Papers towards the end of the Vietnam War, called Manning a personal “hero” of his to RT.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.