Sunday 22 October 2017

Snowden gives up bid for asylum in Russia as his options run low

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Photo: Reuters
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Photo: Reuters

Tom Parfitt Moscow and Damien McElroy

Edward Snowden has withdrawn an application for political asylum in Russia as escape routes for the fugitive US whistleblower started to close.

Mr Snowden, who is stuck in a transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, made an asylum request on Monday to the terminal's Russian consular section. He also made asylum pleas to 18 countries, but yesterday many rejected his requests.

The list contained several Nato allies of the US that were unlikely to accede to his pleas.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Vladimir Putin, said Mr Snowden had withdrawn his request after the Russian president said he would have to stop harming US interests.

"He abandoned his intention and his request to receive the chance of staying in Russia," said Mr Peskov.

Mr Snowden, a former contractor for the CIA and the National Security Agency, is on the run after exposing details of surveillance of US citizens.

REQUIREMENTS

The application was handed over by Sarah Harrison, a Wiki-Leaks legal researcher accompanying Mr Snowden.

Yesterday, the group said he had also made applications for "asylum and asylum assistance" to Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, Holland, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela.

The Polish foreign ministry said Mr Snowden's letter did not meet formal requirements. Holland also rejected the request.

Officials in Germany, Norway, Austria, Finland, Ireland and Switzerland said he must make his request on their territory. But President Evo Morales of Bolivia said he would consider Snowden's request. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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