Bolivia files UN complaint after president's jet diverted

LA PAZ (AFP) - Bolivia on Wednesday lodged a complaint with the United Nations (UN) and planned another to the UN Human Rights Commission against several European countries that closed their airspace to the plane carrying President Evo Morales.

"As a government, we are filing complaints worldwide," said Vice-President and acting head of state Alvaro Garcia.

"We have already made the complaint to the United Nations and in the next few hours, we are making a complaint to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights," Garcia said, over what he called an international rights violation that put the president's life at risk.

Bolivia said President Morales was flying from Moscow back to Bolivia when his plane was forced to land in Vienna on suspicion fugitive US leaker Edward Snowden may be on board.

The flight had originally taken off late Tuesday from Moscow, where 30-year-old Snowden has been holed up for days, just hours after President Morales said his country would consider giving him political asylum.

While in flight, Bolivia said the pilot learned Portugal refused to allow the plane to land for refueling, and then France, Italy and Spain banned the plane from entering its airspace.

On the ground in Vienna, police searched the plane and found no sign of the US fugitive, and the European countries reauthorised the use of their airspace.

The diversion has sparked outrage from other Latin American leaders, with Argentine President Cristina Kirchner calling the incident "very humiliating". In a series of tweets on her official account, the president said, "they are definitely all crazy. The head of state and his plane have total immunity".

President Kirchner said she had spoken to Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, who was equally outraged.

Organisation of American States chief Jose Miguel Insulza demanded an explanation about the incident, which he said endangered the president's life.

"Nothing justifies such a disrespectful act toward a country's highest authority."