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European Union votes to drop charges against Edward Snowden

Contributed by on October 30, 2015 at 11:23 pm

He arrived there on June 2013 via Hong Kong, having fled to the city after leaking details of secret mass surveillance by U.S. intelligence agencies to the Guardian and the Washington Post. “Mr. Snowden is accused of leaking classified information and faces felony charges here in the United States”.

“This resolution, approved by 342 votes to 274, with 29 abstentions, takes stock of the (lack of) action taken by the European Commission, other EU institutions and member states on the recommendations set out by Parliament in its resolution of 12 March 2014 on the electronic mass surveillance of EU citizens, drawn up in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations”, said the EU Parliament.

Thursday’s resolution was sparked by the case of Maximillian Schrems, an Austrian citizen who complained to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), based on Snowden’s revelations that the Facebook data of European citizens was being transferred from Facebook’s Irish subsidiary to the United States.

And the EU called on the European Commission to “immediately take the necessary measures to ensure that all personal data transferred to the U.S. are subject to an effective level of protection that is essentially equivalent to that guaranteed in the EU”.

“This should be reason enough for European Union states to determine that he shouldn’t be treated as a criminal”, Albrecht said. He says he was doing his duty as a citizen by informing others about the surveillance programmes which scooped up massive amounts of personal data in the name of national security.

The last time EU governments suspected that Snowden might be in European jurisdiction-on board the plane of Bolivian President Evo Morales, flying from Russian Federation across Europe towards Latin America, in 2013-they worked together to seal off their airspace to Morales’s plane and force it to land in Vienna, where it was subjected to a patently illegal search for Snowden.

Ultimately, Snowden did not come to Germany because it was unclear whether he would be arrested and extradited to the United States.

Dienelt recalled the fact that Snowden had previously considered testifying before a German parliamentary committee on the NSA’s surveillance program - including the spy agency listening in on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone conversations.

Internet freedom campaign Fight for the Future has welcomed the resolution, encouraging member states to drop all criminal charges against Snowden and protect him from extradition to the US.

“If you are Edward Snowden you got to be extremely cautious about making any decisions because if you misjudge what a country is going to do you’ll end up spending the rest of your life in prison”, Peter Zeidenberg, a former US District Attorney, told DW.

And controversially the MEPs have also called for EU member states to grant protection to Edward Snowden as a “human rights defender”