Friday, July 12, 2013

Edward Snowden will remain in Russia - for now

Contractor doesn't want to harm immediate interests of Latin nations which offered him a new home

*Updated content*
Guadalajara -
Many Latin American news sources are reporting this morning that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden plans to seek political asylum in Russia. But it may be only the first step in a long journey.

All the reports quoted Serguéi Reznik, a Moscow attorney who said he will attend a conference with Snowden and his Wikileaks team of advisers at Sheremetyevo International Airport later today, where the fugitive's plans will be announced.

Reznik said, "This is my personal opinion." According to the attorney, Snowden "doesn't want to prejudice the position of other countries." Ecuador, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia, all of which have offered Snowden humanitarian asylum, have been threatened by the U.S. with economic and diplomatic retaliation.

Snowden has not been seen since his arrival in Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23. He faces several espionage charges in an Alexandria, Virginia federal court.

Snowden sought asylum in Moscow July 1, but a day later withdrew his application after Russian president Valdimir Putin said he would not tolerate any more NSA related disclosures which might harm the interests of the United States, "as strange as that might sound coming from my lips." Putin: Snowden can stay, but no more NSA leaks.

Russia has no extradition treaty with the United States, and Putin has several times confirmed that Snowden will not be handed over to American law enforcement authorities. Putin says Snowden is still in Russia, but not really.

Late update:
Human rights organization representatives who attended the airport meeting said Snowden is seeking only "interim asylum" in Russia. He asked them to intercede on his behalf with president Putin, who has given no indication of how or when he might rule on the request.

In a subsequent release by Snowden's Wikileaks team of advisers, the fugitive contractor expressed thanks to the governments of Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela for their support and offers of asylum, "all of which I hereby accept." But Snowden said that he wants to remain in Russia until he can travel to one of those countries "in a legal manner." He made reference to the July 2 forced grounding in Vienna of Bolivian president Evo Morales as the latter returned from a Moscow summit. Snowden said he does not want to expose nations which have tried to help him to danger or the risk of political retaliation.

July 13 - A voice from Moscow, with a message for many
July 10 - A world passport for Edward Snowden
July 7 - Edward Snowden: Washington's massive miscalculation
June 27 - Ecuador's gutsy "stick it"
June 27 - Ecuador unilaterally cancels beneficial trade pact with U.S.: "we don't tolerate pressure"
June 26 - Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro is ready to accept Edward Snowden

Putin answered questions at a June 25 press conference in Finland:

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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