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English Court May Prevent Snowden’s Deportation to US

Updated on January 9, 2017

Experts believe there might be possible prosecution of Edward Snowden for breaching British secrecy laws

Edward Snowden, the former contractor of the National Security Agency (US equivalent of British GCHQ), who leaked tons of sensitive information before receiving asylum in Russia, may have been prosecuted for breaching the British secrecy laws, according to a secret memo from the Crown Prosecution Service.

The memo addressed to several senior Foreign Office and intelligence officers includes a request to verify one of the documents, leaked by Mr. Snowden last year. In particular, it concerns the British involvement in operations in Abkhazia, a tiny but strategic region between Russia and Georgia. The document in question purportedly suggests British involvement with Abkhaz and South Ossetia’s opposition on behalf of the US. This involvement also includes financial support to the opposition figures via several British NGOs working in the region. Mr. Snowden's paper reveal that the officers of several NGOs visited the region of Abkhazia and conducted a number of meetings with Abkhaz opposition leaders Aslan Bzhaniya and Alkhaz Kvitsinya. The papers also suggest that a former intelligence officer Craig Oliphant was involved in training sessions for the opposition.

The Crown Prosecution Service has launched an investigation that would reveal whether the document is genuine. Should it be so, the prosecution of Snowden would be in the UK’s national interest. The Snowden’s prosecution may also clash with the US efforts for his possible deportation and would lead to yet another confrontation with Russia.

Meanwhile, Abkhazia along with the neighboring republic of South Ossetia proclaimed their independence from Georgia after a short war between Georgia and Russia in 2008. The Independence of both states was officially recognized by Russia and a number of its allies. Yet, neither the US nor the UK has officially recognized those states. The controversial political and social background of Abkhazia comes from its geographical and geopolitical role. Historically Abkhazia has played a strategic role of a buffer zone between south of Russia (the Caucuses, Georgia and Turkey) to prevent terrorist’s penetrations. While Abkhazia has strong ethnic ties with Turkic nations, it has always remained an important military and political partner for Russia. Earlier this year after the diplomatic crisis between Moscow and Ankara caused by the downing of the Russian military jet in the end of 2015, Abkhazia found itself torn between the two fires- Russia and Turkey. Due to its vulnerable and not permanent political status, it comes as no surprise that the region and its authorities and political leaders are frequently being manipulated by states interested in setting the conflict between Russia and its neighboring countries.

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