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.
Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando
First full-length look is finally here
Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck
World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'
"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star
Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Sex abuse inquiry: 'Victims receive death threats' after MPs release names online
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Teenager brandishing fake gun taken down by police after demanding airtime on Netherlands' NOS TV station
The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£41500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...
£10670 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...
£36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Regional Gas Installation Manager is r...
£29000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Service and Brea...