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    That ruled out a prolonged stay in Russia, where a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said Snowden had withdrawn his request for asylum after the Russian leader said he should stop "harming our American partners".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

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora