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Snowden's options for political asylum fading: few countries will admit him unless he's at the border

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
July 2nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Edward Snowden, with his revelations that the United States why spying on its own citizens - as well as longtime allies, and not just terrorist suspects, won him admirers and fans. However - here's the sticky part - very few countries are willing to grant him political asylum. Going down a long laundry list, it appears that nearly every nation has an excuse not to welcome Snowden with open arms.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Many countries have denied Snowden's request or have added the stipulation that he would have to find a way to travel to their territory in order to apply.

Both Bolivia and Venezuela appear supportive, but 11 of the 21 countries he's applied to, including Ecuador and Iceland, have said they can't consider his request until he shows up at one of their embassies or on their borders. Three countries have denied Snowden's request outright; Brazil, India and Poland.

Snowden had already withdrawn his asylum request with Russian authorities after President Vladimir Putin said he would have to "stop his work aimed at harming our American partners" if he wanted to stay in the country.

Bolivian President Evo Morales said he would be willing to grant Snowden asylum. "Yes, why not," Morales said. "We are worried at the demeanor of countries such as U.S.A."

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Snowden deserves protection, not prosecution, according to Reuters. "What crime has he committed? Did he kill anyone? Did he plant a bomb and kill anyone?" Maduro has been quoted as saying. "No, much better, he has prevented wars, and he has stopped illegalities being committed against the entire world. For this, he deserves the protection of the world."

In spite of this, neither country had made a firm offer of asylum, or any way for him to leave Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport. Russian authorities say he remains in the airport transit area, technically a free man, but unable to travel after the United States revoked his passport.

Neither WikiLeaks nor Snowden has commented on the rejections. The group released a statement attributed to Snowden late Monday in which he blasted the Obama administration for trying to block his efforts to seek refuge.

"These are the old, bad tools of political aggression," Snowden said. "Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me . I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many."

Snowden denounced the Obama administration for yanking his passport once criminal charges were filed, "leaving me a stateless person." But he said the administration isn't afraid of people like him or others accused of disclosing U.S. secrets.

"No, the Obama administration is afraid of you," he said. "It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised -- and it should be."

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