The Irish Government has received a request from the US authorities to arrest fugitive US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden. The provisional arrest warrant received by the Irish Government from the US authorities is now being handled by the extradition Unit in the Garda’s crime and security branch based in Garda headquarters, Phoenix Park, Dublin. The warrant has been issued as a pre-emptive strike against any effort by Mr Snowden to evade the US authorities by flying from Moscow to Havana on a commercial flight that stops off at Shannon for refuelling. The warrant would enable the Garda to arrest Mr Snowden under the Extradition Act 1965.
He could be brought before a District Court where a judge could detain him in custody for up to 18 days during which time the Americans could execute a full extradition process to bring him back to America to stand trial.
He is wanted for questioning in the US following his releasing information outlining how the US government was engaged in the wholesale interception of email and telephone messages.
He is believed to be in the transit lounge of Moscow airport.
While the receipt of the provisional arrest documentation by the Department of Justice yesterday appears based on the possibility he may try to travel to Havana on the regular Aeroflot flight via Shannon, security sources in Dublin believe this is unlikely.
“We would think he’ll stay in Russia for at least a while but the papers are with us now so the option of using Shannon to get to Cuba is probably out for him,” one source said.
Mr Snowden (30) has already made efforts to seek political asylum in a large number of countries including Ireland. He could not make such an application unless he was physically in Ireland.
However, if he travelled via Shannon as part of his efforts to get to Cuba and was arrested under the provisional arrest warrant pending an extradition process by the American authorities in the Irish courts, he could apply for asylum while being held in prison here.
The plane of Bolivian president Evo Morales was denied permission to fly over some European countries on Wednesday after leaving Moscow when it was suspected Mr Snowden could be on board.
He worked for the National Security Agency as a contractor in Hawaii, has been trying since June 23rd to find a country that will offer him refuge from prosecution in theUnited States on espionage charges.
Russian president Vladimir Putin is unwilling to sendMr Snowden to the United States, with which Russia has no extradition treaty.
Think you know your Irish history and geography? Think again! here are some fascinating facts and figures.
1. Irish patriot Michael Collins’ father was 74 when his son was born. Michael Collins senior married a woman 37 years younger than him.
2. The Shannon is the longest river in both Britain or Ireland.
3. Ireland’s longest serving leader Eamon De Valera was born out of wedlock in New York to a Cuban immigrant and an Irish woman, Kate Coll. On De Valera’s original birth certificate, his name is given as George De Valero.
4. The entire size of Ireland would fit neatly into Indiana. Both populations are similar at 6 million.
5. There was a pogrom against Jews in 1904 in Limerick. It was instigated by a Redemptorist priest, Father John Creagh. Eighty Jews were driven from their homes. Later, Dublin elected one of Europe’s first Jewish Lord Mayors.
6. Ireland’s first president Douglas Hyde was a Protestant, as was President Erskine Childers.
7. Edward Carson, who did more to keep Northern Ireland separate from the Republic than anyone, he was born in Dublin.
8. Ireland once had Europe’s biggest brothel. It was called Monto located in north inner city Dublin and 1,600 hookers plied their trade there in the first part of the century. British troops were a large part of the clientele.
9. Phoenix Park is one of the biggest urban parks in Europe.
10. The Duke of Wellington, Napoleons conqueror at Waterloo, was born in Ireland at the site of the current Merrion Hotel. He is the only Irish-born Prime Minister of Britain.