Sunday

17th Dec 2017

European rights watchdog queries UK on Snowden affair

  • Jagland wants answers from UK over Snowden affair. (Photo: Council of Europe)

Secretary general Thorbjorn Jagland of the Strasbourg-based human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, has asked the UK to explain its recent actions in the US snooping scandal, exposed by former security official Edward Snowden.

In a letter addressed to UK home secretary Theresa May on Wednesday (21 August), Jagland asks how its actions are compatible with Britain's obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Specifically, Jagland wants to know how the convention squares with the detention of a Guardian reporter’s partner, David Miranda, at Heathrow airport and the forced destruction of the paper’s hard drives containing Snowden's leaked documents.

“These measures, if confirmed, may have a potentially chilling effect on journalists' freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights,” said Jagland.

“I would therefore be grateful to you if you could provide information on these reports and comment on the compatibility of the measures taken with the UK's obligations under the convention,” he added.

Miranda, a partner of Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, was in transit from Germany to Brazil at London’s Heathrow airport on Sunday when he was detained for nine hours by the Metropolitan Police.

All his electronic equipment was confiscated.

He was also forced to reveal passwords under the threat of being jailed.

An obscure British terrorism act was invoked to detain Miranda, which strips away the normal rights of suspects and journalists in transit at the airport.

The paper in July had also been forced to wipe clean hard drives after Downing Street sent its cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood to warn the Guardian over Snowden’s documents.

The US on Tuesday distanced itself from the UK over the destruction of the hard drives.

Washington said it would not engage in a similar move, even to protect national security, despite imposing a 35-year sentence on US army soldier Bradley Manning for leaking thousands of government documents to the online publisher Wikileaks.

A strong reaction also came from Moscow.

Russia’s foreign ministry spokesman, Aleksandr Lukashevich, said in a statement on Wednesday that: "The moves taken by the UK authorities in relation with the Guardian newspaper office are discordant with the statements of the British side on their adherence to universal human rights standards, including that of the freedom of media, the rights of journalists and the protection of private life.”

He described Britain’s action as part of a “worrisome ongoing tendency for the abuse of fundamental human rights and freedoms."

For its part, the EU says it cannot comment on the application of national security legislation.

Romania wants EU signal on Schengen membership

Bucharest expects other member states to decide on its accession to the passport-free area before it takes the rotating EU presidency on 1 January 2019 - amid criticism of a controversial new justice reform.

Germany says China using LinkedIn to recruit informants

Germany's spy agency says the Chinese state is trying to recruit high-ranking German officials via social media outlets like LinkedIn. It accused Chinese intelligence of setting up fake profiles to lure them into becoming informants.

Germany says China using LinkedIn to recruit informants

Germany's spy agency says the Chinese state is trying to recruit high-ranking German officials via social media outlets like LinkedIn. It accused Chinese intelligence of setting up fake profiles to lure them into becoming informants.

News in Brief

  1. EU adopts 'track-and-trace' tobacco system
  2. Luxembourg appeals Amazon tax decision
  3. EU leaders agree to open phase 2 of Brexit talks
  4. Juncker: May made 'big efforts' on Brexit
  5. Merkel took 'tough' line on Russia at EU summit
  6. EU leaders added line supporting 'two-state' solution
  7. EU leaders agree to 20 European Universities by 2024
  8. Belgian courts end legal proceedings against Puigdemont

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Catalonia, Brexit, and Uber on EU agenda This WEEK
  2. Macron and Merkel take tough line on Poland
  3. Eurozone future needs structural reforms, EU leaders told
  4. Showdown EU vote on asylum looking likely for next June
  5. EU stresses unity as it launches next phase of Brexit talks
  6. Polish PM ready for EU sanctions scrap
  7. Dutchman to lead powerful euro working group
  8. EU mulls post-Brexit balance of euro and non-eurozone states