Navi Pillay, the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, appealed to the nations of the world to respect privacy and asylum rights, and protect individuals who disclose human rights violations. Referring to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, she said, “Without prejudging the validity of any asylum claim by Snowden, I appeal to all States to respect the internationally guaranteed right to seek asylum, in accordance with Article 14 of the Universal Declaration and Article 1 of the UN Convention relating to the status of refugees, and to make any such determination in accordance with their international legal obligations.”
This week, a Moscow court concluded its trial of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and his client William Browder, a British investor who accused government officials of colluding with organized crime. As expected, the court declared both guilty of tax evasion, but neither is going to prison. Browder, sentenced to nine years, is in the United Kingdom and Magnitsky died in government custody more than three years ago, at the age of 37.
NPR notes that “the tax evasion case against Magnitsky was brought by the very officials that he had accused.” Human rights groups that examined the case say Magnitsky “had been beaten and denied medical care” just before he died. The government closed its case against Magnitsky in 2009, after his death, but re-opened it after Browder publicized a “Magnitsky List: of corrupt Russian officials.
The defense portion of Army whistleblower Bradley Manning’s trial concluded on Wednesday after three days of testimony from a total of ten witnesses. One of the witnesses, Colonel Morris Davis, the former chief military prosecutor at Guantánamo appeared this morning on Democracy Now!
[Updated 8/30/13] The Department of Homeland Security’s attorneys filed an appeal late Wednesday of a unanimous panel of three U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit judges in the case of whistleblower Robert MacLean, formerly an air marshal with the Transportation Security Agency. DHS requests a “panel rehearing” and a “rehearing en banc” of the Federal Circuit panel’s precedential April26 decision in MacLean’s favor.
DHS claims MacLean disclosed Sensitive Security Information when he reported an alarming cutback in air marshals aboard commercial flights. It has been established already that DHS labeled the information SSI only after it was reported by MSNBC (below)/
In a July 8 op-ed for the New York Times, FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley questioned the appropriateness of President Obama’s nomination of James B. Comey to head the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She pointed out that Comey, despite initial reluctance, eventually did sign off on “most of the worst of the Bush administration’s legal abuses and questionable interpretations of federal and international law.”