US authorities got NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's middle name wrong on extradition request, says Hong Kong
US complains Hong Kong was 'simply trying to create a pretext for not acting on the provisional arrest request'
Thursday 27 June 2013
Hong Kong officials say the US government got National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden's middle name wrong in documents it submitted to back a request for his arrest.
Mr Snowden hid in Hong Kong for several weeks after revealing secret US surveillance programs. Hong Kong allowed him to fly to Moscow on Sunday, saying the request for his arrest did not fully comply with its requirements.
Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen said that discrepancies in the paperwork filed by US authorities were to blame, although the US Justice Department denied that.
Mr Yuen said Hong Kong immigration records listed Mr Snowden's middle name as Joseph, but the US government used the name James in some documents and referred to him only as Edward J Snowden in others.
“These three names are not exactly the same, therefore we believed that there was a need to clarify,” he said. Mr Yuen said authorities also did not provide Snowden's passport number.
The decision to let Mr Snowden leave Hong Kong angered the White House, which said it damaged US-Chinese relations.
The Justice Department rejected the notion Hong Kong had required clarification about Mr Snowden's middle name - or that it needed his passport number, saying the US had provided to Hong Kong all that was required under the terms of their extradition treaty.
“The fugitive's photos and videos were widely reported through multiple news outlets. That Hong Kong would ask for more information about his identity demonstrates that it was simply trying to create a pretext for not acting on the provisional arrest request,” a spokeswoman said.
Mr Yuen said the confusion over Mr Snowden's identification and his passport were among factors that delayed an arrest. He said the government requested clarification from its counterparts in the US on Friday.
“Up until the moment of Snowden's departure, the very minute, the US Department of Justice did not reply to our request for further information. Therefore, in our legal system, there is no legal basis for the requested provisional arrest warrant,” Mr Yuen said. In the absence of such a warrant, the “Hong Kong government has no legal basis for restricting or prohibiting Snowden leaving Hong Kong.”
Mr Snowden flew from Hong Kong to Moscow and was expected to seek asylum in Ecuador.
Mystery surrounds his whereabout after Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Mr Snowden was in the transit area of Sheremetyevo Airport. Mr Putin said he had not passed through immigration and was free to go where he liked.
He booked a seat on a Havana-bound flight on Monday en route to Venezuela, but did not board the plane. His ultimate destination was believed to be Ecuador.
But the US move to annul Mr Snowden's passport may have severely complicated his travel plans. Exiting the transit area would require either boarding a plane or passing through border control, both of which require a valid passport or other documentation.
Hordes of journalists armed with laptops and photo and video cameras have camped in and around the airport, looking for Mr Snowden.
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...