THE MAN THAT BLEW THE LID OFF the PRISM internet surveillance scandal has flown from Hong Kong to Moscow and is seeking asylum, possibly in a third country.
Edward Snowden had been holed up in Hong Kong since he blew the whistle on the PRISM surveillance system reportedly operated by the US National Security Agency (NSA), but he left the city this weekend. Reportedly he is seeking asylum from Ecuador and is proceeding there via Russia, Cuba and Venezuela.
In a statement the Hong Kong government told the US, which had requested Snowden's extradition, that it had to let him go.
"The US Government earlier on made a request to the HKSAR Government for the issue of a provisional warrant of arrest against Mr Snowden. Since the documents provided by the US Government did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law, the HKSAR Government has requested the US Government to provide additional information so that the Department of Justice could consider whether the US Government's request can meet the relevant legal conditions," it said.
"As the HKSAR Government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong."
According to the statement Snowden has left Hong Kong, but the Hong Kong government asked the US a question of its own.
"The HKSAR Government has formally written to the US Government requesting clarification on earlier reports about the hacking of computer systems in Hong Kong by US government agencies," it said. "The HKSAR Government will continue to follow up on the matter so as to protect the legal rights of the people of Hong Kong."
Snowden's exodus has the backing of other whistleblowers at Wikileaks, and its representatives are accompanying him on his journey. A statement from the organisation said that Snowden asked it for help, and that it is providing assistance.
"The WikiLeaks legal team and I are interested in preserving Mr Snowden's rights and protecting him as a person," said Baltasar Garzon, legal director of Wikileaks. "What is being done to Mr Snowden and to Mr Julian Assange - for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest - is an assault against the people". µ
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