US whistleblower wants asylum in Russia

US whistleblower wants asylum in Russia
Sat Jul 13, 2013 09:37:41

NSA leaker Edward Snowden has asked for political asylum in Russia as he cannot not fly to Latin America for security concerns.

Snowden says his job of revealing documents of the US espionage on other countries is done, human rights activists who met with him at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport said on Friday.

According to Tatyana Lokshina of Human Rights Watch, Snowden seeks to stay in Russia as he “can’t fly to Latin America yet.”

Snowden asked the human rights activists to petition the US and European states not to interfere with his asylum process, she said.

The former NSA contractor also asked to intervene with President Vladimir Putin on his behalf.

Snowden said he is ready to ask Russia for political asylum and that he “does not intend to harm the US,” according to Russian State Duma MP Vyacheslav Nikonov.

Snowden said he does not rule out moving to live in a Latin American country. However, the recent incident in which the Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane was grounded in Austria on suspicion that the NSA leaker was on board discourages Snowden from going there now.

According to human rights lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, the request for political asylum has already been written by Snowden, adding that the Russian authorities should be able to decide on Snowden’s asylum request in two to three weeks’ time. 

Meanwhile, Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin suggested that it would be better for Snowden to ask the UN or the ICRC for refugee status instead of seeking asylum in Russia. That way it won’t harm Russian-American relations, he added. 

Thirteen Russian and international human rights advocates and lawyers have gathered at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport for a meeting with Snowden.

The whistleblower said that his living conditions were fine at the airport and he felt safe there, but he knows he can't stay there forever.



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