Defend right to privacy, defend Edward Snowden

Sign the petition against US attempts to prosecute him

Whistle-blowing to expose wrong-doing is not a crime

London, UK – 25 June 2013
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“Whistle-blower Edward Snowden is a human rights hero. He has exposed the mass invasion of privacy worldwide by US and UK spy agencies. These spy operations were activated without the knowledge or consent of the public or elected politicians, and without any adequate safeguards against abuses,” said Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

“If Snowden was an Iranian who had exposed global state snooping by Tehran, he would have been praised by the US government for revealing wrong-doing. Instead, he’s being hounded by Washington. The US has double standards.”

“It is arguable that this mass snooping violates the Bill of Rights of the US constitution, the UK’s Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights – all three of which have strong protections against invasions of privacy and over-bearing, intrusive state power.

“Thanks to Snowden we now know the truth: that the UK and US are spying on millions of people all over the world. He has revealed elements of the secret state that threaten our privacy and civil liberties – and our right to know what our governments are doing in our name. Snowden has made public what London and Washington wanted to keep hidden and secret,” added Mr Tatchell.

“Snowden was involved in secret US spy operations. He’s now facing charges of revealing the existence of these covert operations. Washington wants to prosecute a spy for spying. It’s bizarre; almost Kafkaesque.

“The US charges against Snowden are nonsense. He has not passed state secrets to an enemy nation. He has not been secretive. Unlike the US National Security Agency and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), he was open and transparent about what he did and why.

“He exposed the secretive US spy system – not any serious state secrets,” said Mr Tatchell.

Pliny Soocoormanee of the Peter Tatchell Foundation added:

“Snowden’s real crime is revealing US wrong-doing and causing the US administration embarrassment. That’s all.

“The right to privacy is a fundamental human right. No state – whether the UK, Iran, US or North Korea – has the right to subject innocent citizens to blanket surveillance.

“If eavesdropping and interception are necessary to protect the public from terrorism, it must be targeted. The public must consent and there should be independent oversight to protect the population against abuses.

“Neither the US nor the UK spy systems meet these safeguard criterion.

“A strong, secret state with blanket snooping powers is a menace to liberty and human rights.

“Edward Snowden has defended our right to privacy and the principle of transparent, accountable government.

“We must now defend his right to blow the whistle on the unwarranted and unmandated mass invasion of privacy by the US government and its British allies. Please sign the petition,” said Mr Soocoormanee.