Former US security service contractor and fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden remains in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, where he is awaiting responses to requests for asylum from at least 19 countries.
A press secretary for Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed his whereabouts, adding that Snowden had not crossed the Russian border. Snowden has withdrawn a request for asylum in Russia after Putin said that the leaking of sensitive US data should stop. Putin told a press conference on Monday: “If Snowden wants to remain here, there is one condition. He must cease his activities aimed at inflicting damage on our American partners, no matter how strange it may sound coming from my lips.”
According to the WikiLeaks website, Snowden has applied for asylum in at least 19 countries: Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela. He had already sent applications to Ecuador and Iceland.
Of those countries, several including Poland, India and Brazil have already refused to grant Snowden asylum. Many others have said they cannot grant asylum unless the application is made on their sovereign territory. French president François Hollande has said he would like the EU to draw up a common position.
Venezuela claims not yet to have received an official request but the country’s President, Nicolas Maduro suggests that Venezuela would be a possibility for Snowden. Maduro said on Tuesday: “He deserves the world’s protection…We think this young person has done something very important for humanity, has done a favour to humanity, has spoken great truths to deconstruct a world that…is controlled by an imperialist American elite.”
Snowden has been in the diplomatic no-mans-land of Sheremetyevo’s transit area for nine days. He arrived there from Hong Kong after fleeing the US after revealing state intelligence secrets, notably details about the US security services’ clandestine PRISM electronic surveillance programme. Washington revoked Snowden’s passport and has been putting pressure on the international community to hand over Snowden rather than grant him asylum.
Who will grant Snowden asylum?
Austria – NO Says it can only grant asylum if request is made when on Austrian territory Bolivia – POSSIBLY Bolivia say it did not receive Snowden’s application but president said he would consider granting him asylum. Brazil – NO Officials have announced they will not grant his request, they will leave it unanswered. China – ? Officials say they have no information on Snowden’s request Cuba – ? Ecuador – NO The president has said Ecuador is not considering the request, as it was made outside Ecuadorean territory Finland – NO Says it can only grant asylum if request is made when on Finnish territory France – NO France has officially rejected Snowden’s request. Germany – NO After studying the “legal viability” of the request they rejected the application Iceland – ?
India – NO India’s foreign ministry says it “sees no reason to accept” Snowden’s request Italy – NO Italy has officially rejected Snowden’s request. Ireland – NO Says legally impossible as Snowden is not on Irish territory Netherlands – UNLIKELY. Says it can only grant asylum if request is made when on Dutch territory Nicaragua – ? NorwayUNLIKELY. Says it can only grant asylum if request is made when on Norwegian territory Poland – NO Request rejected Russia – NO Snowden withdrew the request himself Spain – NO Says legally impossible as Snowden is not on Spanish territory Switzerland – UNLIKELY. Says it has not yet received an asylum request and that it can only grant asylum if request is made on Swiss territory. Venezuela – POSSIBLY. President Maduro says Snowden “needs the world’s protection:”