European Parliament panel votes down asylum protection for Snowden

Feb. 13, 2014 at 9:29 AM
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BRUSSELS, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- A European Parliament committee has voted against calling for asylum protection for U.S. secrets leaker Edward Snowden.

The vote Wednesday was part of a non-binding resolution backed the civil liberties committee, the reported Thursday.

The resolution condemns the wholesale collection of personal data on the scale Snowden disclosed when he leaked information about the massive National Security Agency phone and Internet monitoring system last summer.

The panel defeated a proposal in the committee's NSA inquiry report that requested EU members drop any criminal charges against him and "offer him protection from prosecution, extradition or rendition."

"The EU should have more backbone," said German Green member Jan Philipp Albrecht, one of the drafters of the deleted clause.

He told Snowden needs protection in European Union territory not in Russia, which granted him temporary asylum in August.

Claude Moraes, a British member of the European Parliament who led the three-month NSA inquiry, told reporters in Brussels it was up to member states, not an EU institution, to decide whether to grant Snowden protection.

The European Parliament instead backed a general provision on international protection for whistle-blowers.

"What we ended up with I think was a realistic and sensible enhancement for international whistle-blowers," Moraes said.

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