Most wanted US whistleblower heading to Russia

Most wanted US whistleblower heading to Russia
Sun Jun 23, 2013 14:26:20

American whistleblower Edward Snowden, who is wanted by the US administration for revealing Washington’s spy activities, is en route to Russia.

The ex-CIA employee is on a Russian flight to Moscow from Hong Kong, Russian television channel RT reported.

This comes after the US filed an extradition order against Snowden for espionage, theft and conversion of government property.

A spokesperson from the Hong Kong government reportedly confirmed that Edward Snowden had "legally and voluntarily" left the country.

“Mr. Edward Snowden left Hong Kong today (June 23) on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel,” said the Hong Kong government in a press release. The statement also said the documents for Snowden’s extradition submitted by Washington “did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law.”

“As the HKSAR Government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for a provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr. Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.”

The only Aeroflot flight that arrives from Hong Kong into Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport today is at 17:05 local time (13:05 GMT). Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin was unaware of Snowden’s plans to fly to Moscow.

It is understood that Moscow will not be Snowden’s final destination, he could potentially fly on to Ecuador or Iceland where he has allegedly applied for asylum. A diplomatic source told the Russian news agency Itar-Tass that no request for asylum in Russia had been received from the former CIA employee.