News / USA

    Snowden's Asylum Options Dwindle

    Reuters
    Countries in Latin America, Asia and Europe spurned asylum requests by Edward Snowden on Tuesday, despite a call by Venezuela for the world to protect the former U.S. spy agency contractor wanted by Washington for espionage.

    Snowden, who revealed the secret U.S. electronic surveillance program Prism, has applied for political asylum in more than a dozen countries in his search for safety from prosecution in the United States.

    Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
    x
    Click to enlarge
    Click to enlarge
    The 30-year-old American is in legal limbo in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, unable to fly out because he has no legal travel documents and also has no Russian visa to leave the airport.

    On Monday, he broke a nine-day silence since arriving in Moscow from Hong Kong, challenging Washington by saying he was free to publish more about its programs and that he was being illegally persecuted.

    That ruled out a prolonged stay in Russia, where a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said Snowden had withdrawn his request for asylum after the Russian leader said he should stop "harming our American partners".

    But while country after country denied his asylum requests on technical grounds, Venezuela, part of an alliance of leftist governments in Latin America, said it was time to stop berating a man who has "done something very important for humanity".

    "He deserves the world's protection," President Nicolas Maduro told Reuters during a visit to Moscow for a meeting of gas exporting countries.

    "He has a right to protection because the United States in its actions is persecuting him ... Why are they persecuting him? What has he done? Did he launch a missile and kill someone? Did he rig a bomb and kill someone? No. He is preventing war."

    Maduro said he would consider an asylum application. He later had talks with Putin but neither leader said whether they had discussed Snowden.

    The American's request for safety in Ecuador, which has sheltered the founder of antisecrecy group WikiLeaks Julian Assange in its London embassy, has seemingly ended.

    Bolivian President Evo Morales, also in Moscow for the gas conference, told Russia's RT television that his country would consider an asylum request but had not yet received one.

    U.S. President Barack Obama has made clear to a number of countries that granting him asylum would carry costs.

    "Mistake"

    Snowden has prepared asylum requests in countries including India, China, Brazil, Ireland, Austria, Bolivia, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela, WikiLeaks has said.

    But several countries, including Snowden's favored Ecuador, said on Tuesday they could not consider an asylum request from Snowden unless he was on their territory.

    Norway said he was unlikely to get asylum there, Brazil ruled out even answering his request and Poland said it would not give a "positive recommendation" to any application.

    Finland, Spain, Ireland and Austria said he had to be in their countries to make a request, while India said "we see no reason" to accept his petition. France said it had not received a request and China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said she had no information on Snowden's asylum request.

    Officials in Russia, which has made clear it wants Snowden to leave, say an embassy car would be considered foreign territory if a country picked him up.

    Snowden's options have narrowed sharply.

    Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa has said he cannot consider the asylum request and that giving Snowden a temporary travel pass to fly to Moscow was "a mistake on our part".

    Moscow is unwilling to send Snowden to the United States, a move that could make it look weak, and it has no extradition treaty with Washington. But it also does not want to damage ties with the United States over a man with whom Putin, a former KGB spy, has little sympathy.

    At a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Brunei, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he had raised Snowden "from our point of view" despite the affair not being in their domain.

    "Russia has never extradited anyone, is not extraditing anyone and will not extradite anyone," Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters.

    Peskov said Snowden showed no sign of stopping releasing secret U.S. documents and added that he had abandoned his intention of staying in Russia.

    In an undated letter to Ecuador's Correa seen by Reuters, Snowden said he was "dedicated to the fight for justice in this unequal world". "I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest," Snowden said in the letter.

    You May Like

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: grace from: egypt
    July 03, 2013 6:11 AM
    Snowden is a HERO!!!

    by: Anonymous
    July 03, 2013 6:05 AM
    David Thanjan you are another USA sucker, Snowden is a Hero!!!

    by: oldlamb from: Guangzhou
    July 03, 2013 5:03 AM
    I don't think China and Rusia should grant Snowden's asylum requests,China and Rusia can do what U.S.has been doing about cyber surveillance program.Snowden's technology are not shortage in these two countries,but some countries like Venezuela in Latin America,it's significant for they to learn.So should permit Snowden's asylum requests.

    by: GH1618 from: USA
    July 03, 2013 12:23 AM
    It's a mystery to me where Snowden gets the idea that he is being "illegally persecuted." Traditionally, spies have known very well that they were doing something illegal, and subject to prosecution (or worse) if caught, so took care to be discreet. Snowden chooses instead to thumb his nose at authority then complain of "persecution" when they come after him? Clueless.

    by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
    July 02, 2013 9:50 PM
    What the traitor Snowden urgently need at the Moscow airport is not passport, visa or asylum, but clean underwear from Russia!

    by: Mark T
    July 02, 2013 9:08 PM
    right or wrong, Snowden is digging his own grave right now, and is stepping into it. His actions, however right and just he might have started this whole affair, is not looking good for him now. It would be in his best interest now to just return to the U.S. and face whatever consequences are awaiting him. Flight from justice never made anyone look innocent. I am not condoning what the U.S. has done, but Snowden's actions now are not making his case any easier on him.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.