Montreal lawyers ask courts to expedite refugee status for Edward Snowdens Guardian Angels

OTTAWA—A group of lawyers are hoping the courts will force the federal government to speed up refugee applications for three families who helped hide former CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden in Hong Kong.The lawyers have asked a Federal Court judge to order Ottawa to live up to it obligations to protect refugees, and process the families’ claims immediately.Lawyer Michael Simkin says there are fears the families could be arrested any day, making it more difficult to have them resettled in Canada.The families, originally from Sri Lanka and the Philippines, have so far been denied asylum in Hong Kong, and launched appeals Monday to have deportation orders against them lifted.They gained notoriety last year when their existence was revealed in Oliver Stone’s film Snowden, and have since faced political persecution in Hong Kong, says lawyer Marc-Andre Seguin.Article Continued BelowA Montreal-based not-for-profit, For the Refugees, filed to sponsor the families in January after raising funds from private donors to support them.The group said Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen committed to expedite processing of the refugee application in early May, but that the Canadian consulate reported on July 7 that their files had not been fast-tracked.Seguin was blunt during a news conference in Ottawa Monday about what could happen next if immediate action isn’t taken.