June 22, 2013

No word from Hong Kong on Snowden's return

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

The success or failure of any extradition proceeding depends on what the suspect is charged with under U.S. law and how it corresponds to Hong Kong law under the treaty. In order for Hong Kong officials to honor the extradition request, they have to have some applicable statute under their law that corresponds with a violation of U.S. law.

Hong Kong lawmakers said Saturday that the Chinese government should make the final decision on whether Snowden should be extradited to the United States.

Outspoken legislator Leung Kwok-hung said Beijing should instruct Hong Kong to protect Snowden from extradition before his case gets dragged through the court system.

Leung urged the people of Hong Kong to "take to the streets to protect Snowden."

In Iceland, a business executive said Friday that a private plane was on standby to transport Snowden from Hong Kong to Iceland, although Iceland's government says it has not received an asylum request from Snowden.

Business executive Olafur Vignir Sigurvinsson said he has been in contact with someone representing Snowden and has not spoken to the American himself. Private donations are being collected to pay for the flight, he said.

"There are a number of people that are interested in freedom of speech and recognize the importance of knowing who is spying on us," Sigurvinsson said. "We are people that care about privacy."

Disclosure of the criminal complaint came as President Barack Obama held his first meeting with a privacy and civil liberties board and as his intelligence chief sought ways to help Americans understand more about sweeping government surveillance efforts exposed by Snowden.

The five members of the little-known Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board met with Obama for an hour in the White House Situation Room, questioning the president on the two NSA programs that have stoked controversy.

One program collects billions of U.S. phone records. The second gathers audio, video, email, photographic and Internet search usage of foreign nationals overseas, and probably some Americans in the process, who use major Internet service providers, such as Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Yahoo.

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