Dutch investigators search for missing WikiLeaks associate in Norway

The Norwegian police on Monday said Dutch investigators were helping them search for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's associate Arjen Kamphuis, who mysteriously disappeared in northern Norway three weeks ago.

Dutch investigators search for missing WikiLeaks associate in Norway
The trains station in Bodø. Photo: NTB/Scanpix

The 47-year-old Dutch cyber security expert has been missing since August 20th when he left his hotel in the northern Norwegian town of Bodø, triggering numerous conspiracy theories on social media. 

Two Dutch investigators have arrived in Bodø to help the investigation, the Norwegian police said in a statement on Monday, adding they would stay there for the rest of the week. 

“Kamphuis has still not been found and the case is open for different outcomes, but we still haven't found anything that indicates that a crime has been committed,” they added. 

WikiLeaks, which publishes secret information, tweeted on September 2nd that his disappearance was “strange”.

In photos circulating on social networks, Kamphuis can be seen wearing glasses with half-long blond hair and a thin beard. 

WikiLeaks said he had a ticket for a flight departing on August 22nd from Trondheim, a city located more than 700 kilometres (435 miles) south of Bodø, but he did not catch it.  

A phone linked to Kamphuis was briefly switched on in an area near the southwestern city of Stavanger, located 1,600 kilometres from Bodo, late on August 30th, the police said but could not confirm if he was using it. 

Assange has been holed up at Ecuador's embassy in London since 2012 when he was granted political asylum as he feared extradition to the United States to face trial over WikiLeaks' publication of secret US military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010.


Snowden applies for Norway asylum

American whistleblower and fugitive Edward Snowden has applied for asylum in several European countries including Norway, WikiLeaks announced on Tuesday morning.

Snowden applies for Norway asylum
File photo: Berit Roald/Scanpix

Whistleblowing platform WikiLeaks said early on Tuesday morning that Snowden's asylum applications were handed over to the Russian consulate in the transit zone of Moscow airport, which has been Snowden's temporary home for the past week. 

The Norwegian embassy in Moscow has confirmed that staff received Snowden's asylum appliation via fax, but Norway does not, however, accept asylum applications that are filed from outside the country. 

Justice Department chief of staff Pål Lønseth told the NRK network that the asylum bid would not be accepted. 

"Norwegian law prohibits seeking asylum from abroad, and normal procedure says that Edward Snowden's application will be rejected," said Lønseth.

Snowden has now reached out not only to Ecuador and Iceland, but also Norway, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Ireland, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and Finland in Europe, along with China, Russia, Cuba, Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela, Nicaragua and India.

In a statement, former CIA contractor Snowden accused the US of wanting to undercut his right to apply for asylum in other nations by making his American passport invalid. He called the move "citizenship as a weapon".

"On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic 'wheeling and dealing' over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions," Snowden said in a statement. 

"This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me."