Venezuela will 'almost certainly' grant asylum to Snowden: Maduro
Iran Press TV
Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:2PM GMT
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has hailed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for his courage, saying that the country will 'almost certainly' grant him political asylum if asked.
"We say and advocate that someone in the world should stand with this young man and protect him, the revelations he has made with courage serve to change the world," said Maduro during a meeting in central Venezuela on Wednesday.
“If he asked us for [political asylum], we would think about it and we would almost certainly give it to him, because political asylum... is an international human rights institution to protect the persecuted,” the Venezuelan leader added.
This is while, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said it could take months for his government to decide whether to grant asylum to Snowden.
On Sunday, Snowden arrived in Moscow after he left Hong Kong to avoid US extradition.
Washington has reportedly revoked Snowden’s passport, with State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, saying the fugitive “should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel, other than is necessary to return him to the US.”
The whistleblower is wanted by the US government for disclosing one of its top-secret surveillance programs and has formally been charged with three felonies, including two under the Espionage Act.
Snowden leaked two top secret US government spying programs under which the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were found eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.
Several US government officials including President Barack Obama and FBI director Robert Mueller have defended the secret spying programs, claiming that they are essential to the fight against terrorism.
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