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That ruled out a prolonged stay in Russia, where a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said Snowden had withdrawn his request for asylum after the Russian leader said he should stop "harming our American partners".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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs