Human rights lawyer in running to replace Edward Snowden as Glasgow University figurehead

Avatar photo

By Thomas Connelly on

Aamer Anwar announced he will stand for election as rector

A leading human rights lawyer is in the running to become Glasgow University’s next rector, a position currently held by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Aamer Anwar (pictured top left) studied mechanical engineering at the Russell Group university before embarking on a career in law. He was put forward by a group of students who said he would be a “strong voice” on their behalf.

The historic role of rector comes with a number of key duties. These include representing the student body, bringing concerns of students to the attention of management and, where possible, participating in university events. Having copied and leaked classified US intelligence before fleeing to Russia, Snowden — who was elected as Glasgow’s rector in 2014 — probably struggled to attend many campus-based soirĂ©es during his three year tenure.

In this regard, Anwar may have more success. After finishing his engineering degree, Anwar went on to study race law at Liverpool University before completing his LLB at Strathclyde. An outspoken political activist, he set up his own law firm after qualifying as a solicitor in 2000. Anwar has represented clients in a number of high profile cases in Scotland, including the family of murdered waiter Surjit Singh Chhokar and the family of Sheku Bayoh, who died in police custody.

But this isn’t the first time the human rights specialist has put himself forward for the position of rector. During a hotly contested 2008 election campaign, he was narrowly beaten to the post by Liberal Democrat politician Charles Kennedy.

Nominations for the rector role close on Friday with elections held later this month.

For all the latest news, features, events and jobs, sign up to Legal Cheek’s weekly newsletter here.