Supreme Court rejects Edward Snowden's lawsuit for safe passage to Norway

rejected_nov_heading-copy

Supreme Court rejects Edward Snowden’s lawsuit for safe passage to Norway

Whistleblower Edward Snowden’s lawsuit against the Norwegian state to establish that Norway has no right to extradite him to the United States, was rejected by the Supreme Court yesterday. Snowden has, with Norwegian PEN and the Norwegian press organizations as intervention parties, sued the Norwegian state to ensure a safe passage to Norway to receive the Ossietzky prize for 2016 in Oslo.

– Just as Carl von Ossietzky in his time was not permitted to come to Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Snowden has been prevented from coming here to receive the Ossietzky Prize. Our battle is lost, but the long term goal remains the same: that Edward Snowden, and others who report misconduct, must be able to do so this without fear of prosecution and in the worst case, life imprisonment, says William Nygaard, President of Norwegian PEN.

Norwegian PEN, in collaboration with PEN International, will intensify their efforts to shed light on the whistleblower’s lack of protection in international law. Equally important is to prove that mass surveillance is a threat to our freedoms as individuals. Efforts to protect Edward Snowden’s position as a whistleblower and human rights advocate will prevail.

In what appears to be political loyalty to the US, the Norwegian government decided to not confirm that Snowden could come to Norway without fear of extradition. Thus, the request had to be tried in court. The lawsuit has been tried by the District Court and Court of Appeal with negative outcome. The verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court.

The court’s main argument is that the US government has only requested extradition if Snowden comes to Norway, furthermore that the formal extradition request has not been handed over to Norwegian authorities. Thus, the lawsuit is basically rejected on formal grounds.

Norwegian PEN will travel to Moscow to give the award to Edward Snowden.

Contact:
William Nygaard, head of the Norwegian PEN: +47 908 92 601
Hege Newth Nouri, General Secretary of Norwegian PEN: +47 930 02 262

 

Høyesterett avviser Edward Snowdens sak om innreise til Norge

rejected_nov_heading-copy

Varsleren Edward Snowdens sak om å prøve spørsmålet om utlevering fra  Norge til USA ble i går avvist av Høyesterett. Snowden har, med Norsk PEN og landets presseorganisasjoner som partshjelpere, stevnet den norske stat for å sikre en trygg reise til Norge for å motta Ossietzky-prisen 2016 i Oslo.

– På samme måte som Carl von Ossietzky i sin tid ble nektet å komme til Norge for å motta Nobels fredspris, har Snowden nå blitt forhindret fra å komme hit for å motta Ossietzkyprisen. Dette slaget er tapt, men det langsiktige målet er fortsatt at Edward Snowden og andre som varsler om kritikkverdige forhold, skal kunne gjøre dette uten frykt for straffeforfølgning og i verste fall livstidsstraff, uttaler William Nygaard, styreleder i Norsk PEN.

Norsk PEN vil i samarbeid med PEN International intensivere arbeidet med å kaste lys over varslerens manglende trygghet i internasjonal lov. Tilsvarende viktig er det å belyse masseovervåkningen som trussel mot våre personlige friheter. Arbeidet for å beskytte Edward Snowdens posisjon som varsler og samvittighetsforkjemper vil fortsette.

Den norske regjering har i politisk lojalitet til USA valgt ikke å bekrefte at Snowden kunne reise uten frykt for utlevering, slik at saken i stedet måtte prøves for retten. Avvisningssaken har gått gjennom tingrett og lagmannsrett med negativt utfall og kjennelsen ble opprettholdt i Høyesterett.

Hovedbegrunnelsen er at amerikanske myndigheter kun har anmodet om utlevering dersom han kommer til Norge, og at den formelle utleveringsbegjæring ikke er overlevert norske myndigheter. Dermed er prøvingssaken i hovedsak avvist av formelle grunner.

Norsk PEN vil reise til Moskva for å overlevere prisen til Edward Snowden.

Under programmet Venter på Snowden 18. november ble Edward Snowden intervjuet av Christian Borch. Se video her:

Norsk PEN ber Faremo sørge for at Snowdens asylsøknad vurderes på nytt

Oslo 3. juli 2013

Justisminister Grete Faremo
Justisdepartementet
Postboks 8005 dep
0030 Oslo

Varsleren Snowden og asylsøknaden

De siste dagers avsløringer av USAs avlytting og spionasje – som strekker seg også til EUs kontorer i USA – er urovekkende. EU-organene blir ifølge Der Spiegel betegnet som «angrepsmål» av den amerikanske sikkerhetstjenesten NSA. Med andre ord har overvåkningen også rammet USAs allierte i «krigen mot terror» i en grad som sjokkerer europeiske ledere.

Flere av disse tiltakene var beskrevet som topphemmelige av USAs overvåkningsorganer. Trusselen om straffeforfølgelse mot varsleren Edward Snowden for spionasje er en beskyldning mot et individ som har brukt ytringsfriheten sin til å avdekke graverende forhold som ikke er en rettsstat verdig. Ved å gå ut med disse opplysningene har Edward Snowden reist spørsmål ved demokratisk åpenhet i USAs antiterror-strategi.  

Praksisen som er avdekket i USA står i klar motstrid til prinsipper for en demokratisk rettsstat. De skiller seg også klart fra erklæringer fra den norske regjeringen etter 22. juli-terroren, der svaret var «mer demokrati, mer åpenhet». USA har etter 11. september 2001 akseptert en utvidelse av sin sikkerhetspolitikk som i dag framstår som hinsides kontroll og i strid med verdiene landet er grunnlagt på. Ny og avansert teknologi kan, alliert med de store nettgigantene Google, Amazon, Apple med flere og i tråd med Patriot Act, framskaffe overvåkningsdata i et nærmest ubegrenset omfang. Frykten for overvåkning har allerede ført til betydelige innskrenkninger av ytringsfriheten og selvsensur i USA og en rekke andre land. Bare en ny og mer åpen gransking kan hindre at denne prosessen akselererer. 

Edward Snowden har grunn til å frykte den behandlingen USA vil gi ham ved eventuell utlevering. Norsk PEN støtter derfor hans asylsøknad til Norge, basert på de faktiske forholdene, slik disse er kjent for norsk offentlighet.

Norsk PEN er en av få organisasjoner som har rett til å foreslå innreise/asyl til enhet for Overføringsflyktninger i UDI.  Denne retten gjelder imidlertid kun skribenter (forfattere, oversettere, journalister, etc) som ønsker opphold i en norsk friby for forfulgte forfattere.

Edward Snowden faller dessverre ikke i den kategorien.  Han er en varsler.  Norsk PEN tar generelt avstand fra forfølgelse av varslere.  En viktig del av ytringsfriheten er nettopp friheten til å kunne si ifra om overgrep, særlig når slike utføres av myndighetspersoner eller institusjoner. 

På denne bakgrunn retter Norsk PEN følgende anmodning til norske myndigheter:

Med henvisning til artikkel 14 i FNs Menneskerettighetserklæring som Norge er tilsluttet, der det i første ledd står at «enhver har rett til i andre land å søke og ta imot asyl mot forfølgelse», ber vi justisminister Grete Faremo instruere UDI om å vurdere Edward Snowdens asylsøknad på nytt, i tråd med den behandlingen de i sin tid ga de afghanske tolkene som hadde arbeidet for de norske styrkene i Afghanistan.

Med vennlig hilsen

William Nygaard/s.
Leder

Elisabeth Eide/s.
Nestleder

Carl Morten Iversen
Secretary General

Kopi
UDI v/direktør Frode Forfang
UD v/Utenriksminister Espen Barth Eide

Uttalelse om Bradley Manning

I USA sitter den 23-år gamle forsvarsanalytikeren Bradley Manning fenglset for påstått lekasje til Wikileaks av en video der et amerikansk helikopter angriper og dreper minst 11 sivile irakere, inklusive to journalister.  I tillegg er han beskyldt for å ha lekket tusenvis av dokumenter, “The Afghan War Diary”, som beskriver overgrep mot sivile, samt tildekning av korrupsjon, konflikter med lokale krigsherrer og USA og NATOs mislykkede militære innsats i Afghanistan.  Manning risikerer en svært lang fengselstraff.

Norsk PEN ønsker ikke å ta stillingt til de juridiske og sikkerhetsmessige aspektene ved Manning “forbrytelse”, men minner om president Obamas kommentar om varslere under sin presidentkampanje i 2008: “Den eneste grunnen til at vi kjenner til disse forbrytelsene er fordi folk på innsiden har varslet oss og samtidig utsatt seg selv for stor, personlig risiko.  Varslere er en del av et sunt demokrati og må beskyttes mot represalier.”

Manning sitter nå i isolat på Quantico Marine Base og er blitt utsatt for tortur iflg. hjemmesiden til hans offisielle støttegruppe “Free Bradley Manning”.  Han er også av fengselsmyndighetene blitt nektet besøk av en offisielle delegasjon som ønsket å undersøke Mannings fengslingsforhold nærmere.  Iflg. representanter for den amerikanske regjeringen og ledelsen på Quantico Marine Base er “kongressrepresentant Dennis Kucinich og FNs spesialrapportør på tortur ikke å anse som “offisielle representanter for regjeringen””. Begge to har forsøkt å besøke Manning i månedsvis, men er blitt nektet adgang til fengselet. Iflg. gjeldende amerikansk regelverk skulle Kucinich kunne innvilges en slik besøkstillatelse.  FNs spesialrapportør har nå satt i gang en offisiell etterforskning av Mannings fengslingsforhold.

Norsk PEN oppfordrer president Obama og det amerikanske forvaret til å respektere og følge gjeldende lokale og internasjonale regler gjennom å stoppe torturen av Manning og tillate besøk i fengselet.  Uansett tiltalen mot Manning finnes det ingen unnskyldning for den behandlingen han er blitt utsatt for, eller av forsvarsdepartementet og Quantico Marine Base´s åpenbare forsøk på å forhindre offisielle undersøkelser av Mannings fengslingsforhold.

Oslo, 28.04.11
Årsmøtet i Norsk PEN

 

STOP the inhuman treatment of Bradley Manning

Statement on Bradley Manning

In the USA, 23-year old defense analyst Bradley Manning is jailed for an alleged leak of a video, showing a US helicopter attacking and killing at least 11 civilian Iraqis, including two journalists.  He is also charged with leaking thousands of documents, «The Afghan War Diary», documenting atrocities against civilians, coveer -up of corruption, conflicts with local war lords, and the failed efforts of NATO and the USA in Afghanistan.  Manning is looking at a very long prison sentence.

Norwegian PEN does not want to consider the judicial- and safety-aspects of Mannings «crime», but would like to recall President Obamas observation about whistle-blowers during his presidential campaign in 2008: «The only reason we know about these crimes is because people on the inside blew the whistle, at great personal risk.  Whistle-blowers are part of a healthy democracy and should be protected.»

Manning is now in isolation at the Quantico Marine Base and, according to the website «Free Bradley Manning», has been subject to torture.  Norwegian PEN urges President Obama and the US Department of Defence to respect local and international regulations by stopping the torture and allowing for prison visits.

28. April 2011 – Norwegian PEN Annual Meeting

Stopp den umenneskelige behandlingen av Bradley Manning

Uttalelse om Bradley Manning

I USA sitter den 23-år gamle forsvarsanalytikeren Bradley Manning fenglset for påstått lekasje til Wikileaks av en video der et amerikansk helikopter angriper og dreper minst 11 sivile irakere, inklusive to journalister.  I tillegg er han beskyldt for å ha lekket tusenvis av dokumenter, “The Afghan War Diary”, som beskriver overgrep mot sivile, samt tildekning av korrupsjon, konflikter med lokale krigsherrer og USA og NATOs mislykkede militære innsats i Afghanistan.  Manning risikerer en svært lang fengselstraff.

Norsk PEN ønsker ikke å ta stilling til de juridiske og sikkerhetsmessige aspektene ved Mannings “forbrytelse”, men minner om president Obamas kommentar om varslere under sin presidentkampanje i 2008: “Den eneste grunnen til at vi kjenner til disse forbrytelsene er fordi folk på innsiden har varslet oss og samtidig utsatt seg selv for stor, personlig risiko.  Varslere er en del av et sunt demokrati og må beskyttes mot represalier.”

Manning sitter nå i isolat på Quantico Marine Base og er blitt utsatt for tortur iflg. hjemmesiden til hans offisielle støttegruppe “Free Bradley Manning”.  Han er også av fengselsmyndighetene blitt nektet besøk av en offisielle delegasjon som ønsket å undersøke Mannings fengslingsforhold nærmere.  Iflg. representanter for den amerikanske regjeringen og ledelsen på Quantico Marine Base er “kongressrepresentant Dennis Kucinich og FNs spesialrapportør på tortur ikke å anse som “offisielle representanter for regjeringen””. Begge to har forsøkt å besøke Manning i månedsvis, men er blitt nektet adgang til fengselet. Iflg. gjeldende amerikansk regelverk skulle Kucinich kunne innvilges en slik besøkstillatelse.  FNs spesialrapportør har nå satt i gang en offisiell etterforskning av Mannings fengslingsforhold.

Norsk PEN oppfordrer president Obama og det amerikanske forvaret til å respektere og følge gjeldende lokale og internasjonale regler gjennom å stoppe torturen av Manning og tillate besøk i fengselet.  Uansett tiltalen mot Manning finnes det ingen unnskyldning for den behandlingen han er blitt utsatt for, eller av forsvarsdepartementet og Quantico Marine Base´s åpenbare forsøk på å forhindre offisielle undersøkelser av Mannings fengslingsforhold.

Oslo 28. april 2011
Årsmøtet i Norsk PEN

Can you fight terrorism by becoming a terror state?

Can you fight terrorism by becoming a terror state?

A dangerous development in some Western countries

By Kjell Olaf Jensen, President, Norwegian PEN

The point of departure is, of course, the terrorist attacks against the United States on 11th September last year. The point of departure also is that a society, a country or a nation of course has a right to defend itself against such attacks. But not in any way whatsoever.

The United States have taken up this defense by launching what the American president calls «War against terrorism». These three words have been the major newsline dominating most international news media since 11th September. These three words have been used to cover the Russians’ actions in Chechnya, the Israelis’ actions in Palestine, the Palestinians’ actions in Israel, etc. – and one might easily find arguments condemning one or the other party, or both.

I am not going to do any of this. I want to look – superficially – at some changements in the Western societies after 11th September, where the climate was given at once by the American president’s rather childish slogan, «Those who are not with us, are against us». A risky slogan, by the way, since it was the USA which created a phenomenon like Osama bin Laden, it was the USA which put a phenomenon like the Taliban in power in Afghanistan, and it was the CIA which produced the explosives that bin Laden and his people used to blow up the American embassies in Nairobi and Daar-es-Salaam some years ago. It was also the USA which last treated bin Laden’s kidney problem at the American military hospital in Dubai in July 2001 (two months before 11th September), where bin Laden received the visit of CIA’s place commander, according to the French newspaper «Le Figaro» on 31st October and 1st November 2001 – these informations have been duly denied by the American embassy in Paris.

After the 11th September, the American Congress voted a law giving the President the authority to issue decrees having the force of law, in cases where the national security was concerned. The decrees which have thus been issued by President Bush, can be found on the Internet pages of Amnesty International, among others. The most (ill-)famous of these decree laws is the one establishing military courts. These courts are given the right to judge «non-citizens» (which means non-US citizens) who are suspected of having harmed, prepared to harm, or meant to harm American political, economical, social, military, or security interests.

Such persons may be arrested by American authorities and put before a court consisting of three military judges. These courts do not put the same strict demands on the strength of the evidence as does the normal, civil judicial system in the USA. They have the power to eventually sentence the accused to death, and only the President of the United States or his Minister of Justice have the authority to transform these sentences. The ordinary system of appeals does not function for these courts. And the trials are to be kept secret; nobody will know that a trial against such and such a person has taken place, or eventually that the person in question has been sentenced and even executed.

This speech which I am now making, may in itself harm the political interests of the USA, and most of us are «non-citizens» according to the American definition of this term. Which means that the fact of making this speech, or of listening to it, theoretically might be defined as a reason for being arrested by the American authorities and brought before a military court next time any of us visit the USA – or maybe even for being kidnapped by the American representatives in our own countries, brought in secret to the USA, put before a secret military court, sentenced even without valid proofs and executed in secret without any possibilities of appeal. (This does not mean that I believe this would be a probable outcome of this conference, it is just meant to illustrate how far-fetched the American security thinking has become. And, by the way: What does «security» mean in this context? Security for whom?)

This far-fetched example shows us, members of the International PEN movement caring about our own and our colleagues’ right to freedom of expression, how vulnerable this right is today. But the situation is far worse.

For briefness’ sake, I shall only mention a few examples from the Scandinavian countries, where we usually take pride in being models of democracy and human rights.

Some months ago, three Swedish citizens of Somali descent were accused of financing the al-Qaida terrorist movement, via an informal banking system which Somali immigrants all over Europe have had to establish to be able to send money to their families at home, since there is no normal banking system functioning in Somalia. The accusation against the three Swedes came from the American authorities, via the EU commission in Brussels. The Swedish authorities reacted by blocking the three persons’ bank accounts, by refusing them any right to take a paid job, by refusing them any right to social security and by making it a criminal act for anybody to give or lend money to these three persons. If you ask how they were supposed to survive, that is a very good question. The reason for these actions was that the Swedish judicial authorities did not judge the proofs against the three suspected persons strong enough to bring the case before a normal Swedish court – in other words, the reason was that a normal court would have acquitted the three persons.

In Norway, one of our district attorneys – who are by definition supposed to be the country’s most solid and knowledgeable judicial experts – wrote an analytical article about the American president’s decree establishing the above-mentioned military courts. He wanted to publish this article in the main serious newspaper in Oslo, and the newspaper also wanted to print his article. Then came an order from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, forbidding the publication of such an article. The reason given was that the district attorney in question was just spending some months as a councellor to the Norwegian embassy in Washington, and the Ministry could not accept one of their employees publicly expressing views which were contrary to those of the Norwegian government. A public outcry followed, the district attorney finished his period as councellor for the Washington embassy, the Ministry deemed that it then would be acceptable to publish the article, and the newspaper printed it – almost half a year after it had been written, and when there was no longer any news in it.

There also is the case of the Norwegian Ministry of Justice draughting a new set of proposed antiterror laws which the Ministry wanted the Parliament to adopt, but which were first sent out on a round of preliminary hearings. All the hearing instances were outraged at the severe limitations thus proposed for the essential human rights, and at the proposed violations of the major human rights conventions to which Norway is a party. All the hearing instances except one: the Norwegian police authorities, which deemed the proposed laws quite handy.  Whereupon the Ministry of Justice, to its honour, quietly dropped the draught in the waste basket.

But the worst is still to come. Within the UN system, the UN’s Sixth Committee, which is in charge of questions concerning human rights, is elaborating a draught convention against terrorism, which is only quite appropriate in the actual international situation. What is less appropriate, is that «strong forces within UN’s Security Council» (meaning the United States of America) are working to ensure that when the measures in this convention against terrorism are in contradiction with articles in any other international conventions, it is the convention against terrorism which shall have the absolute priority. These informations come from Amnesty International and other NGOs. In February this year, I asked Norway’s deputy minister of Foreign Affairs whether they are correct, which he confirmed. I then asked what the Norwegian government could do about this, since Norway would preside UN’s Security Council during the following month, March 2002. The deputy minister answered that the Norwegian government would not do anything about this situation, being assured by our allies (which means the nited States of America) that no problems would arise.

If this scenario is carried through, it will mean that the onvention Against Torture will still be valid – except if anybody is uspected of terrorism. The Convention for Children’s Rights will still be valid – except in cases concerning terrorism. The Convention for Women’s Rights will still be valid – except if terrorism is suspected. The Convention for Civil and Political Rights and the Convention for Social and Economical Rights will only be valid where terrorism is not concerned. And we shall still have the right to freedom of expression, as long as we do not express anything concerning terror or terrorism or touching upon the political, economical, social, military or security interests of some nations, states or governments.

The examples I have given, are of course carefully chosen; and the scenarios I have mentioned, are a series of worst possible cases. But still, they give a picture of what happens when you try to fight terrorism with terrorism’s own means, namely terror – especially when you do not know exactly against whom to direct these means, so that you have to hit a smaller or larger segment of the whole population.

And,most important, I cannot pretend that the part of the world where I live, is not and will never be in the situation described above. The facts described have happened, even if they are only a small part of a larger picture which is called society, and they are examples of how the right to freedom of expression is threatened even today, among all other essential human rights. It is our duty to see to it that these threats are eliminated.