The case of Edward Snowden

27 June 2013

The flight of Edward Snowden has again focused attention on the global reach of American security powers, privacy and accountability, and debate about brave whistleblowers or ''traitors," writes Professor Ben Saul.

In an opinion piece for The Age, Professor Saul asserts that while he United States has demanded that other countries co-operate in bringing Snowden to justice, what the law requires does not simply follow the political demands of a superpower.

"Individual countries are free to enter into extradition treaties with others - or not.

"When treaties are made, countries are also free to decide what goes in them.

"Most importantly, this includes what crimes are covered (usually only serious ones), and whether exceptions may preclude extradition.

"For these reasons, extradition law worldwide is a dog's breakfast.

"Arrangements vary widely depending on countries' interests and domestic legal systems.

"There are also gaping holes in extradition arrangements.

"For example, Australia has bilateral treaties with only 38 countries - out of 200 or so worldwide.

"The US has just more than 100 treaties, including with Ecuador but not Russia.

"Half the world is Snowden's oyster."

View the entire article - Snowden asylum claim opens another can of worms - The Age

Contact: Greg Sherington

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