Edward Snowden, a former contractor of the National Security Agency (NSA) who became fugitive after leaking national security secrets particularly the PRISM program of the agency is trying to seek political asylum in 15 countries, according to an official from the Russian Foreign Ministry as reported by Sergei L. Loiko of the Los Angeles Times.
Snowden Met With Russian Diplomats
The report cited that Snowden met with Russian diplomats and handed an appeal to 15 countries to grant him political asylum. According to one of the officials who requested anonymity, Snowden took a desperate measure after Ecuador denied his requests for political asylum.
The Russian official said, “It was a desperate measure on his part after Ecuador disavowed his political protection credentials. In the document, Snowden reiterated once again that he is not a traitor.” He added that Snowden explained that his action was prompted by his desire to open the eyes of the world regarding the blatant violations of the United States special services American and European citizens as well as NATO allies.
Russian President’s Confirmation Of Snowden’s Presence
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed that Snowden was in the transit area in Moscow airport to get political asylum. Putin said that he cannot handover Snowden because he is a free man and there is no extradition treaty between Russia and the United States. He added that technically Snowden is not in Russia because he is in a transit zone.
The Russian official did not reveal the names of the countries where Snowden is trying to request for political protection. He met the officials at the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow. He is still at the transit zone at the airport while waiting for the response of the countries regarding his request for asylum.
Kirill Kabanov, a member of the Presidential Council on Human Rights believes that Snowden included Russia in the list. According to him, Russia has two workable options for Snowden. The first option is to provide him with refugee-status papers to be able to buy a ticket to leave for another country, and the second option is to grant him political asylum.
“Snowden’s actions were motivated by a desire to protect human rights and freedoms and now many rights activists in Russia are talking about him as a human rights advocate who deserves to be granted asylum, although this measure is fraught with some political inconveniences for Russia,” said Kobanov.