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Russia Says No Asylum Application Received Yet From Snowden

July 13, 2013

Russian authorities say fugitive U.S. whistle-blower Edward Snowden has not yet submitted an official request for asylum.

Konstantin Romodanovsky, the chief of Russia's Migration Service, said on July 13 that it had yet to receive an official application.

Snowden announced at a meeting with human rights activists in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on July 12 that he is seeking asylum in Russia.

Snowden has been staying in a transit zone at the airport since arriving from Hong Kong on June 23.

Speaking in Kyrgyzstan on July 13, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declined to comment specifically on Snowden's asylum request, saying the government in Moscow is not directly involved in the case.

'To obtain political asylum under Russian law you have to go through specific procedures,' he said. 'The first step in this process is to make a formal appeal to the Federal Migration Service.'

Snowden is a former National Security Agency contractor, and has revealed details about the United States' collecting global phone and Internet data

The Obama administration has been demanding that Russia expel Snowden so that he can face legal action in the United States, where he has been charged with espionage and theft of government property.

The White House said in a statement on July 12 that President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin discussed Snowden among other issues during a telephone call.

Earlier the same day, the White House warned Russia against granting asylum to Snowden, saying this would give the leaker 'a propaganda platform.'

Meanwhile, the presidents of several South American states have criticized the alleged U.S. spying, and defended their right to offer asylum to Snowden.

The leaders of the Mercosur trade bloc said in a statement issued in the capital of Uruguay, Mondevideo on July 12 that: 'We emphatically reject the interception of telecommunications and espionage actions in our nations, as they constitute a violation of human rights, [and] of the right of our citizens to privacy and information."

Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua have all recently offered asylum to Snowden.

With reporting by AFP, AP, Reuters, Interfax, Itar-Tass, and dpa

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-snowden-application-sylum/25045369.html

Copyright (c) 2013. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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