NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden requests asylum in Russia
Iran Press TV
Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:49PM GMT
American whistleblower Edward Snowden has submitted a request for temporary asylum in Russia, saying he faces persecution including torture and death by the US government.
The National Security Agency leaker via Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena filed an application for asylum at Moscow's international airport earlier Tuesday, as confirmed by Russia's Federal Migration Service (FMS).
Snowden said he has applied for short-term asylum because he plans to fly to Latin America later, where he has been presented with numerous asylum offers.
Kucherena said the former NSA contractor will continue to stay at Sheremetyevo International airport where he has been holed up for three weeks, while Russian authorities process his asylum request.
"He is satisfied with how he is being treated by the employees of the airport…Right now he wants to stay in Russia. He has options. He has friends and a lot of supporters...I think everything will be ok," Kucherena added.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the United States has trapped the fugitive intelligence leaker in Moscow by frightening other countries that might have accepted his asylum request.
"They themselves scared off all the other countries, no one wants to take him, and therefore they essentially themselves trapped him on our territory…As soon as there is an opportunity for him to move elsewhere, I hope he will do that," Putin said.
Meanwhile, a Kremlin spokesman said the decision on Snowden's request for temporary asylum is not up to Putin.
Under the country's law, the FMS is required to consider the application within three months, but may process the request faster.
The former US intelligence contractor is wanted by Washington for leaking classified documents revealing America's espionage activities worldwide.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|