Friday 18 April 2014

Russia: No asylum bid from Snowden

Edward Snowden, centre, attends a press conference at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport with Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks, left (AP)

Russian immigration officials say they have not received an application from Edward Snowden, the US National Security Agency leaker who wants to get asylum in Russia.

Mr Snowden came to Moscow's Sheremetyevo international airport on June 23 from Hong Kong, apparently intending to board a flight to Cuba. But he did not get on that flight and is believed to have spent the last three weeks marooned in the airport's transit zone.

On Friday, he met there with human rights activists and said he would seek Russian asylum, at least as a temporary measure before going to Venezuela, Bolivia or Nicaragua, all of which have offered him asylum.

But the Interfax news agency quoted Russian migration service head Konstantin Romodanovsky as saying no asylum request had been received as of Saturday.

Earlier South American presidents accused the US of harassing them over offers of asylum to Mr Snowden.

They also took a strong stance on Friday against alleged US spying in the region during a summit of the Mercosur trade bloc in Uruguay.

Regional leaders were outraged this week by reports that a US spy programme is widely targeting data in emails and telephone calls across Latin America.

The White House criticised Russia for allowing Mr Snowden to meet human rights activists, calling it a "propaganda platform".

Press Association

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