By Simon Lee and Alexia KolliasThe Federal Court has granted the request for a warrant for the extradition of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden to China, after the US Attorney in Chicago said he had made a request for his extradition.
Mr Snowden, who is currently in Hong Kong, is believed to have returned to the US with his girlfriend to face charges related to alleged espionage against the United States.
He is accused of taking thousands of sensitive National Security and Defence documents from the NSA and its partners to the Chinese government.
The warrant for Mr Snowden’s extradition is to be served on Monday, Mr Lee reported.
“It is expected that the court will issue an order for the transfer of Mr Snowden to Hong Kong,” he said.
A US court in the Northern District of Illinois issued a similar warrant for former National Enquirer journalist Jodi Miller on Wednesday.
Mr Snowden has been held in the US since 2012 and has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, where he remains under an international arrest warrant.
China’s foreign ministry has previously accused the US of “attempting to create chaos” by seeking to extradite Mr Snowden, saying it is “not at all unreasonable” to expect the US to extradites Mr Snowden if he wanted to return to China.
“We hope that the US side will understand that the country’s laws and its judicial system have no place in a country that has declared war on the United State and its allies,” a spokesperson for the ministry said.
“They will never extradite their own people.”
A spokesperson for Mr Miller’s defence said the US was seeking a “criminal investigation” against her, and would not give her a fair trial.
“Ms Miller has a long history of activism, and her activism was not motivated by personal interest, but rather to defend freedom of speech and press freedom in China,” the spokesperson said.
A spokesperson from Mr Miller said she had never intended to be a “traitor”.
“I am a woman of principle, and I think we should not be silenced by threats of physical harm,” Ms Miller said.