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Countries’ Reactions to Snowden’s Asylum Request

STOCKHOLM –  Fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has sought asylum in 21 countries, WikiLeaks said Tuesday.

STOCKHOLM –  Fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has sought asylum in 21 countries, WikiLeaks said Tuesday.

The petitions on Snowden’s behalf were made to Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela.

Tuesday’s requests were in addition to previous petitions to Ecuador and Iceland, according to WikiLeaks.

Snowden however has withdrawn his request to Russia after Moscow told him he would have to stop leaking US intelligence reports, a Kremlin spokesman said on Tuesday.

Here are some of the countries’ reactions to his asylum request:

Countries that have rejected his request:

India: “We have carefully examined the request. Following that examination we have concluded that we see no reason to accede to the request,” foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told AFP.

Poland: “A request that does not respect the formal requirements of an asylum application has arrived. And even if it did meet the requirements, I would not give him a positive recommendation,” Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski wrote on Twitter.

Countries that say the applicant must be in their territory for the request to be valid:

Austria: The interior minister said an asylum request had been received, but said an application had to be made within in the country and could not be made from an embassy.

Finland: An asylum application has been received by the embassy in Moscow, but can only be considered if the person is in the country. Exemptions can only be made if the applicant is in his or her home country, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry said.

Iceland: Foreign Minister Bjarni Benediktsson said on June 25 that no formal application had been received and that the intelligence leaker would need to be in Iceland in order to apply. WikiLeaks has however held informal talks with Icelandic officials about the possibility. Icelandic officials were not immediately available to comment on whether the situation has changed since then.

Norway: A request was faxed to the embassy in Moscow on Monday but a request needs to be made in the country for it to be valid, a foreign ministry spokesman told AFP.

Spain: Madrid said it wouldn’t consider Snowden’s request since it wasn’t filed by a person on Spanish territory, but that it “may consider” an application made there.

Countries that have not received a request:

France: “We have received no formal request for now,” ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot told AFP. A request has to be made within the country, but in some cases a temporary document can be issued so the person can travel to France to make the application.

Switzerland: “We had no knowledge of any application being filed by Mr Snowden,” said a spokeswoman for the Federal Office for Migration, Celine Kohlprath. Countries that have refused to confirm his request:

China: “With regard to the case of Snowden, we have been following the developments. I’ve seen some reports of his petition for political asylum in some countries but I have no information about that,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

Ireland: The Department of Justice refused to confirm it had received an asylum request from Snowden because it does not comment on individual cases. However, a spokeswoman noted that “Ireland can only accept asylum applications from persons who are already in the State.” 

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Written By

AFP 2023

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