'German asylum shows Snowden families are at risk' - RTHK
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'German asylum shows Snowden families are at risk'

2019-05-29 HKT 22:10
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  • The Snowden families are seeking asylum in Canada. Photo: RTHK
    The Snowden families are seeking asylum in Canada. Photo: RTHK
Richard Pyne reports
Lawyers for the refugee families who helped shelter US whistleblower Edward Snowden in Hong Kong say Germany's decision to grant asylum to two localist activists strengthens their case for refugee status in Canada.

One of the Snowden families – Vanessa Mae Rodel and her seven-year-old daughter Keana – has already been granted asylum in Canada, but two others remain in Hong Kong.

Guillaume Cliche-Rivard, a lawyer from the Montreal-based For the Refugees group that is working with the families, said the revelation last week that Berlin had granted asylum to Alan Li and Ray Wong showed why Canada should help the families.

"I think this stresses the importance for these cases to be expedited," he told RTHK's Richard Pyne. "Because it's confirmed that Hong Kong can be insecure and has been demonstrated as being insecure for those clients.

"We now have the proof, made by Germany, that it is possible for Hong Kong to create persecution and now we have other evidence."

Wong and Li told international media last week that they had been granted asylum last year after skipping bail on charges relating to the so-called "fishball revolution" riots in Mong Kok during the 2016 Lunar New Year holidays.

The decision led to complaints and protests from Hong Kong officials and pro-establishment groups, who said the two should be on trial for criminal offences and were not being persecuted merely because of their politics.

Cliche-Rivard said the cases of Li and Wong were "a bit different from our cases, but not that different in the sense that persecution was alleged against the government".

Several asylum seekers who sheltered Snowden after he revealed classified files from the US National Security Agency in 2013 have seen their asylum applications rejected by Hong Kong. They say it's too dangerous to go back to their native countries, which include Sri Lanka and the Philippines.