Edward Snowden Applies
for Asylum in More than 20 Countries
July 02, 2013
Fugitive former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden
has applied for asylum in at least 20 countries, but he has dropped his
bid for permanent refuge in Russia.
WikiLeaks’ legal adviser Sarah Harrison submitted the asylum requests
for Edward Snowden by delivering the documents to an official at the
Russian Consulate at Moscow’s Sheremetevo airport, where Snowden has
been holed up for more than a week, in a sort of diplomatic purgatory.
Snowden has been on the run since last month, after releasing secret NSA
documents that detailed U.S. surveillance of domestic and international
telephone and Internet use.
Among the countries where Snowden is seeking asylum are Poland, Germany,
Iceland, Austria and Ecuador. But European leaders say that Snowden most
likely would have to be on a country’s soil in order to be granted
Snowden also applied for asylum in India.
Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesman for India’s Foreign Ministry, said, "I can
confirm that earlier today our embassy in Moscow did receive a
communication from Edward Snowden. That communication did contain a
request for asylum. We have carefully examined the request. Following
that careful examination, we have concluded that we see no reason to
accede to that request."
In a statement - his
first public comment since coming to Russia - Snowden said President
Barack Obama is trying to persuade countries not to give him asylum.
Snowden withdrew his asylum request to Russia when he learned President
Vladimir Putin would consider it only if he stopped leaking U.S.
secrets. But Mr. Putin says Russia will not send Snowden back to America
to face charges of espionage.
Mr. Putin met with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Tuesday in
Moscow. News reports say they discussed Snowden but Mr. Maduro later
told reporters his country has not received an asylum application from
Venezuelan leader said Snowden deserves protection under international
and humanitarian law.
After arriving in Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23, Snowden was reported
to have initially booked flights to Havana, Cuba, and then on to
Caracas, Venezuela, before becoming trapped in legal limbo.
WikiLeaks said asylum requests have also been made to Bolivia, Brazil,
China, Cuba, France, India, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua,
Spain and Venezuela.
Meanwhile, Poland joined several staunch U.S. allies in Europe who are
demanding an explanation from Washington about allegations, based on
Snowden leaks, that U.S. agencies spied on European Union