Snowden asks for asylum in Russia
SHEREMETYEVO AIRPORT (MOSCOW) , July 12 (RAPSI) - NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has officialy asked for asylum in Russia during his meeting with the various Russian and interantional human rights observers.
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, a representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, prominent laywer Henrikh Padva and head of Russian rights organization “Resistance” Olga Kostina all confirmed Friday that they had been invited to the meeting.
Earlier this month, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Snowden changed his mind after learning about the conditions put forward by Moscow.
President Vladimir Putin said that Snowden could stay in Russia on condition he discontinue his anti-US activities. Speaking at a press Moscow press conference Monday, he explained, "If he wants to go somewhere [another country] and is accepted, he can. If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: He must stop his work aimed at harming our US partners, no matter how strange this may sound coming from me.”
Snowden, who is wanted by Washington on charges of espionage and property theft after he leaked details of secret state surveillance programs, has been holed up in Sheremetyevo since arriving on a June 23 flight from Hong Kong. Despite the efforts of dozens of reporters to find him, Snowden has not been seen in public, nor made any official statements, since his arrival in Moscow.
Sheremetyevo airport, which is owned by the Russian state, said Friday that it would facilitate the meeting. “The meeting will be at 5:00 p.m.," said an airport spokesperson. "We will provide access and a location for the meeting."
During the gathering Snowden will give details about his future plans, according to Russian media reports.
Both President Vladimir Putin and Snowden himself have denied that he has been working with Russian intelligence services, or providing Russia with classified information since he arrived in Russia.
Snowden, who has had his passport revoked by the United States, has submitted over 20 asylum applications to countries across the world. Latin American states including Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela have said that they would be prepared to offer him refuge.