Edward Snowden Seeks Asylum In 21 Countries, Including Germany, Spain, Ireland, Italy

Nowhere Man

Intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden has applied for asylum in 21 countries, the WikiLeaks website has revealed, as Ecuador's president claimed the country would not issue travel documents to the former NSA employee.

Several European countries are on the list of Snowden's preferred destinations - including Germany, Finland, France, Italy, Holland, Norway and Switzerland.

But Russia says that Snowden's request for asylum there have been withdrawn, and Spain, Poland and Ireland have already rejected his application.

Edward Snowden has applied for asylum in 21 countries

Requests for asylum were handed to an official at the Russian consulate at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow on Sunday by WikiLeaks legal adviser Sarah Harrison.

The documents are said to outline the risks of persecution Snowden faces in the United States.

The former intelligence analyst has requested asylum across the globe, in Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela.

He has previously asked for safe haven in Ecuador and Iceland, and yesterday it was announced he had requested help from Russia, though this has now been withdrawn.

Poland's Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski tweeted that his country would reject the asylum bid from Snowden, saying: "We received a letter that does not meet the formal application [requirements] for asylum. But even if fulfilled, I will not give a positive recommendation."

Spain's Foreign Minister José García-Margallo said his country will not grant Snowden asylum as he does not fulfil the requirements - he is not on Spanish territory. Ireland's Department of Justice released a similar statement.

In France, the leader of the left-wing Front de Gauche, and far-night Front National leader Marine Le Pen have both praised Snowden.

On Sunday, Front de Gauche's Jean-Luc Mélenchon called for France to grant Snowden asylum, calling him the "benefactor of Europe which helped expose this conspiracy."

The Italian embassy in Moscow confirmed to HuffPost Italia that it had received an asylum request, but France's Foreign Ministry said nothing had been delivered to them yet.

Russian president Vladimir Putin said Snowden would have to effectively stop leaking secrets, if he wanted to get asylum there.

"If he likes to stay here there is one condition: he should cease his work aimed at damaging our American partners. No matter how strange it will sound from me," Putin told reporters on Monday. He also said that Snowden had not been collaborating with Russian intelligence, and they had not asked him to.

Snowden is believed to have dropped his asylum bid on the basis of Moscow's preconditions. A Kremlin spokesman told the BBC that Snowden had withdrawn the application.

And Ecuador is not considering Snowden's asylum request and never intended to facilitate his flight from Hong Kong, president Rafael Correa has told the Guardian, as the whistleblower made a personal plea to Quito for his case to be heard.

"Are we responsible for getting him to Ecuador? It's not logical. The country that has to give him a safe conduct document is Russia," the president said.

The former CIA analyst, who is wanted for leaking details of secret surveillance operations in the UK and US, has been in limbo since his arrival in Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23.

In a statement published on the WikiLeaks website Snowden accused President Barack Obama of denying him a right to asylum and of putting political pressure on countries where he has requested refuge. The Huffington Post UK is unable to verify if the statement was penned by Snowden himself.

Snowden says the president was practising the "old, bad tools of political aggression", saying that such "deception" was "not justice".

Snowden thanked "friends new and old" for his continued liberty, adding: "On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic "wheeling and dealing" over my case.

"Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.

"This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me."

Snowden said the White House was "using citizenship as a weapon" and had denied him the right to seek asylum by revoking his passport, "leaving me a stateless person" and stopping him from "exercising a basic human right... the right to seek asylum".

He added: "In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised - and it should be.

"I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many."

Snowden has also written to the president of Ecuador praising his country's "bravery" in considering his request for political asylum, it has been revealed.

His letter to Rafael Correa, written in Spanish, was leaked to the Press Association by sources in the Ecuadorian capital Quito.

Snowden accuses the US government of a "grave violation" of human rights and of "unwarranted spying against innocent people".


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