Edward Snowden, Evo Morales and the Overflight Rights of State Aircraft

July 11, 2013

lawprofessors.typepad.com on July 3, 2013 released the following:

“We wanted to check in with a few thoughts on the fascinating events surrounding the rerouting of Bolivian President Evo Morales’ return flight from Moscow. While there are conflicting news reports as to exactly what happened, it appears that President Morales’ aircraft, while en route from Russia to Bolivia, was denied permission to enter French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese airspace. The aircraft landed in Austria to refuel, where, according to some reports, it was searched by local authorities before finally being permitted to continue the flight home today. It is widely believed that the aforementioned governments denied Morales overflight authorization because of pressure from the United States government which believed Edward Snowden, wanted in connection with U.S. security leaks, may have been aboard the aircraft.

Leaving aside the many related issues that are outside the purview of this blog, the denial of overflight authorization to Morales’ aircraft has garnered criticism from many Latin American leaders and raised questions of international law. We thought it would be helpful to provide a few brief points of reference with regard to the relevant international aviation law surrounding the situation.

First, overflights by State aircraft fall largely outside of the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation, the basis for most of what we discuss as “international aviation law.” Article 3 of the Convention limits the Convention’s application to civil, as opposed to State, aircraft. While State aircraft isn’t fully defined, there is no question that aircraft transporting a sitting State president on official State business qualifies.

Article 3(c) prohibits State aircraft from flying over the territory of another State without prior authorization. While obtaining overflight authorization for diplomatic aircraft such as the one carrying Morales is often routine (a description of U.S. authorization procedures can be found here), States have a clear legal right to deny such authorization. We don’t currently know enough about what Morales’ original intended flight path was, and what, if any, authorizations were obtained prior to takeoff only to be later revoked. Given States’ broad sovereign authority in this area, there doesn’t appear to be any violations of international law, at least not as relates to aviation. Of course, such an unusual incident is certain to carry diplomatic and political consequences regardless of legality.”

————————————————————–

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 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:

           Office Locations

Email:


“Is Edward Snowden stateless and where can he go?”

July 2, 2013

The Guardian on July 2, 2013 released the following:

“Even if another state grants Snowden asylum and issues him with a letter of passage, Russia would have to agree to accept it

A Guardian guide to extradition – interactive

Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent

Is Edward Snowden stateless?

The US whistleblower has accused Washington of revoking his passport, leaving him a stateless person. The Obama administration, however, insists it has only cancelled the validity of Snowden’s travel document, not deprived him of citizenship. The US State Department has now offered him a “one-entry travel document” to return home – an option unlikely to tempt Snowden to board a US-bound plane.

Can he be rendered stateless?

Making anybody stateless is formally forbidden by the universal declaration of human rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948. , which declares under article 15 that: “(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality; (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.” Individuals can voluntarily renounce their US citizenship – but they have to turn up in person at a US embassy.

Are airports outside national territory?

States normally retain full control over airside transit areas. Russia appears to be treating Moscow’s Sheremetyevo international airport, where Snowden is believed to be hiding, as beyond its control. Gemma Lindfield, a London barrister specialising in extradition and international law, said: “Russia is taking the view that he has not entered Russian territory. It’s finding a reason to do what it wants. The authorities have redefined the space of the airport as international.”

What documents would Snowden require to leave Moscow?

Ecuador initially provided him with a laissez-passer (from the French for “let pass”), or temporary letter of passage, requesting a country to allow a person without other identity documents to cross international borders. But even with a laissez-passer, Lindfield said, “Russia would have to agree to accept it. It would also come down to whether the airline carrier would be happy to take him.”

How long can anyone remain in an airport?

Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian refugee, lived in the departure lounge of Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris for 18 years. His story, Terminal Man, was later turned into a film, The Terminal. Another Iranian refugee, Zahra Kamalfar, spent 10 months at Sheremetyevo airport before flying on to Canada in 2007. Apart from Julian Assange, who is confined to Ecuador’s embassy in London, others trapped in long-term legal limbo have included Archbishop József Mindszenty, the Catholic primate of Hungary, who spent 15 years in the US embassy in Budapest.

What are Snowden’s other options?

Formal requests for asylum have been lodged on Snowden’s behalf with 21 states. His initial applications were to Ecuador and Iceland. The WikiLeaks activist Sarah Harrison has submitted additional letters to Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela.

How are those requests progressing?

Snowden has withdrawn his asylum request to Russia because it said he would be welcome only if he stopped “his work aimed at bringing harm” to the US. Norway, Poland, Germany, Austria, Finland, Spain and Switzerland say that asylum requests can only be made on their soil. Ecuador is reported to have revoked the safe passage letter written for Snowden to leave Hong Kong because the president, Rafael Correa, was not informed before it was issued.

Which country should he choose to escape the reach of US justice?

States that do not have extradition treaties with the US are likely to offer the best hope of securing his freedom. But lawyers point out that even the absence of a treaty may not be sufficient protection against extradition. The UK has managed to extradite suspects from Somalia through case-by-case bilateral agreements. In the end his asylum may come down to political will more than international law. “You would do well to choose a country that has historically terrible diplomatic relations with the US,” Lindfield suggested.”

————————————————————–

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 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:

           Office Locations

Email:


Man charged in fatal ICE ambush

December 22, 2011

El Paso Times on December 22, 2011 released the following:

“By Diana Washington Valdez \ El Paso Times

A man accused of taking part in the Feb. 11 slaying of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent that also left a second ICE agent wounded was charged on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., after Mexico extradited him to the United States.

Julian “Piolin” Zapata Espinoza faces charges for his alleged role in the murder of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata of Brownsville, and the attempted murder of ICE Special Agent Victor Avila of El Paso.

“The extradition and charges filed against Zapata Espinoza is an important step in bringing Jaime and Victor’s alleged shooters to justice,” ICE Director John Morton said. “All of us at ICE are encouraged by today’s action and appreciate the unwavering work and support of all our law enforcement partners in this case.”

“The indictment unsealed today and the successful extradition of ‘Piolin’ to the United States reflect the Justice Department’s vigorous and determined efforts to seek justice for Agents Zapata and Avila,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer. “We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners in Mexico to hold violent criminals accountable.”

On April 19, a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a four-count indictment against Zapata Espinoza, charging him with one count of murder of an officer or employee of the United States, for the murder of Jaime Zapata; one count of attempted murder of an officer or employee of the United States; and one count of attempted murder of an internationally protected person, both for the attempted murder of Avila; and one count of using, carrying, brandishing and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death.

Zapata Espinoza, who is being held without bond, appeared in U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth’s court and pleaded not guilty. His next appearance in court is scheduled for Jan. 25.

In a statement, the Mexican National Defense Secretariat said Mexican soldiers captured Zapata Espinoza on Feb. 23, along with other alleged members of the Zetas drug cartel.

Military officials said Zapata Espinoza “stated he was in charge of the group of gunmen that shot the U.S. agent, (and that) he said that this event was a mistake because they thought that the people in the (U.S. agents’) vehicle were members of an antagonistic (rival) group.”

U.S. officials said the two U.S. agents were traveling from a meeting in San Luis Potosi to Mexico City the day they were ambushed by a group of armed men.

Zapata, who began his law enforcement career with the Border Patrol, was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.

Avila, the ICE agent who was shot twice in the leg, recovered from his wounds.

One of the charges is that Zapata Espinoza participated in the attempted murder of an “internationally protected person,” according to the indictment against him.

“He was apparently a U.S. federal agent that pursuant to international law had special protection,” said Douglas C. McNabb, a lawyer and senior principal with McNabb Associates PC, a global criminal defense firm with a website at www.mcnabbassociates.com.

Sheldon Snook, a deputy court clerk in the U.S. District Court of Washington, D.C., said the U.S. Attorneys Manual defines “internationally protected persons” based on U.S. legislation and United Nations conventions, including the Vienna Convention.

Such persons can include heads of state, diplomats and others that in this case the U.S. State Department has determined holds the status.”

————————————————————–

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.