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Snowden Is ‘Safe and Healthy’ – WikiLeaks Founder

RIA Novosti

20:13 24/06/2013 MOSCOW, June 24 (RIA Novosti) – Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks, said Monday that former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden was “safe and healthy” but declined to reveal his whereabouts.

Snowden is wanted by the United States for disclosing a top-secret surveillance program that allegedly targeted millions of Americans. He took a plane from Hong Kong to Moscow on Sunday accompanied by WikiLeaks representative Sarah Harrison, the organization said in a statement.

“The current status of Snowden and Harrison is that both are healthy and safe and they are in contact with their legal teams,” Assange said during a conference call broadcast by RT. He said he would not give any further information about Snowden’s whereabouts.

Assange said Snowden had been given “a refugee document of passage” by Ecuador, where he has requested asylum, although that document does not absolutely mean that Snowden will be granted asylum by the South American nation. The United States has issued a warrant for Snowden’s arrest and canceled his passport.

"Edward Snowden left Hong Kong on June 23 bound for Ecuador via a safe pass through Russia and other states," Assange told reporters at a conference, Reuters reported.

Ecuador said earlier Monday that it was considering Snowden’s asylum request. The whistleblower is believed to still be in Moscow, after failing to take a plane bound to Cuba.

Assange has been holed up at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since last summer after Britain’s Supreme Court ordered his extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted on sexual assault charges. Assange, whose organization has revealed thousands of US government messages, has claimed that the assault allegations were trumped up.

He said that he had “personal sympathy with Mr. Snowden” and that WikiLeaks was ready to assist him in future.

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