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Value of whistleblowers discussed at free ARU talk

Published: 24 October 2022 at 14:04

Robert Tibbo

Robert Tibbo, who protected Edward Snowden from extradition, to speak at event

Robert Tibbo, the Human Rights lawyer who successfully fought attempts by the United States’ government to extradite surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden, is to give a free public talk hosted by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) later this month.

In 2013, Edward Snowden leaked thousands of documents to the media regarding surveillance practices at the National Security Agency that he considered to be unethical. A former NSA employee, Mr Snowden had become disturbed at some of the practices employed by the agency, which included spying on ordinary Americans, companies and even world leaders.

Shortly after the documents were leaked, Mr Snowden fled to Hong Kong, where government attempts to extradite him back to the United States were fought by Mr Tibbo. 

Mr Tibbo successfully secured Mr Snowden’s safety and security through the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees in Hong Kong, facilitating his going underground in Hong Kong to avoid extradition by the United States government, and safe passage for Mr Snowden out of Hong Kong on 23 June 2013. Eventually, Mr Snowden sought asylum in Russia, where he was later offered citizenship. Mr Snowden now lives in Moscow.

Mr Tibbo, originally from Canada, qualified to practice law as a barrister in Hong Kong in 2005. In 2009, he received advanced training in asylum and refugee law, under Dr Manfred Nowak, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. 

Since then, he has worked extensively on asylum and human rights cases, acting for refugees, conducting appeals for the transgender community, as well as handling cases in commercial, contract and employment law, including litigation against major banks and insurance companies.

During his talk on Monday, 31 October, Mr Tibbo will discuss his background as a Human Rights lawyer and the emerging role of whistleblowers in democracies, and how they can be protected.

Professor Chris Land, Deputy Dean for the Faculty of Business and Law at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said:

“Whistleblowers serve a variety of purposes from the protection of the rule of law, democracy, and separation of powers, to a check on the corporate abuses of power. Whistleblowers and those who support them protect our human rights and help us to address corporate and government misconduct, but face enormous risks. 

“To some, Edward Snowden is a hero, to some he is considered a risk to national security and a traitor for breaking US laws. This fascinating talk by his lawyer Robert Tibbo will focus on how whistleblowers can be better protected, in turn encouraging others to bring to light abuses of power and malpractice.”


The free talk, part of the Faculty of Business and Law Dean’s lecture series, will take place from 5pm until 6pm at Anglia Ruskin University’s Cambridge campus in East Road. Tickets must be booked in advance here.