Former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia oafter three weeks holed up at a Moscow airport trying to avoid prosecution in the United States on espionage charges.
Former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia after three weeks holed up at a Moscow airport trying to avoid prosecution in the United States.
"He reached the conclusion that he needs to write an application for temporary asylum (in Russia), and this procedure has just been done," Anatoly Kucherena, a lawyer who met Snowden on Friday along with human rights activists, told Reuters.
"For now he is not going to go anywhere. For now he plans to stay in Russia," he said.
Snowden is seeking refuge in Latin America after leaking details of US government surveillance programmes, but has not risked taking any flight that might be intercepted by the United States.
Edward Snowden said he has asked Russia to give him asylum until he is able to travel to Latin America:
I ask for your assistance in requesting guarantees of safe passage from the relevant nations in securing my travel to Latin America, as well as requesting asylum in Russia until such time as these states accede to law and my legal travel is permitted.
I will be submitting my request to Russia today, and hope it will be accepted favorably.
Intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden said he has been offered asylum by Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, but he added that it is "impossible" for him to travel across the Atlantic:
I announce today my formal acceptance of all offers of support or asylum I have been extended and all others that may be offered in the future. However, some governments in Western European and North American states have demonstrated a willingness to act outside the law .
This unlawful threat makes it impossible for me to travel to Latin America and enjoy the asylum granted there in accordance with our shared rights.