UK

Edward Snowden Called A 'Hero' By Wikileaks Boss Julian Assange

14/06/2013 18:27 BST | Updated 14/06/2013 18:29 BST
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HONG KONG - 2013: In this handout photo provided by The Guardian, Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA, revealed details of top-secret surveillance conducted by the United States' National Security Agency regarding telecom data. (Photo by The Guardian via Getty Images)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has described the ex-CIA employee who leaked secret US surveillance details as a "hero" and said the UK Government should be offering him asylum in this country.

Mr Assange, who has been inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for almost a year, spoke out after reports that the UK government has warned airlines not to allow Edward Snowden to fly to Britain.

The Associated Press news agency reported seeing a document at a Thai airport telling carriers to stop Edward Snowden, 29, boarding any flights.

Mr Assange said: "The British Government should be offering Mr Snowden asylum, not excluding him from their borders. Edward Snowden is a hero - his revelations disclose something that is important to almost everyone in the world.

"I am sure if you asked the people of the UK what they wanted, they would be in favour of protecting Mr Snowden.

julian assange

Julian Assange has been granted political asylum by Ecuador

"The UK doesn't want to say no to the US under any circumstances - not in my case, and not in the case of Mr Snowden."

The Ecuadorian Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patino, is making a brief visit to the UK from Sunday, meeting Mr Assange and having talks with Foreign Secretary William Hague on Monday.

Mr Assange arrived at the Embassy on 19 June last year and has since been granted political asylum.

He is wanted for questioning about allegations of sexual offences in Sweden - which he denies - but fears being extradited to the United States.