Courage our network

European Parliament votes to protect Edward Snowden from extradition

The European Parliament has voted 285-281 for its member states to “drop any criminal charges against Edward Snowden, grant him protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistleblower and international human rights defender.”

The declaration came as part of a package reminding of the continuing threat of mass surveillance in the wake of the European Court of Justice’s ruling that data transfers to the US were not subject to sufficient protections. Data protection commissioners in several EU states, including Ireland and Germany, are currently investigating whether major social media sites are in fact violating the rights of European customers.

“A chance to move forward”

Most EU states have extradition treaties with the United States and, as a recent disclosure from Norway has shown, the US has put significant pressure on European countries to prevent Edward Snowden transiting through their territory. Invitations to several European countries have proved hugely contentious, with domestic authorities unwilling to guarantee Edward Snowden would not be extradited.

Wolfgang Kaleck, Edward Snowden’s German lawyer, told the Daily Dot that:

“We welcome today’s decision of the European Parliament recognizing Edward Snowden as a human rights defender and calling upon member states to grant him protection from prosecution… It is an overdue step and we urge the member States to act now to implement the resolution.”

Edward Snowden himself welcomed the vote on twitter as a “Game changer… This is not a blow against the US Government, but an open hand extended by friends. It is a chance to move forward.”