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India has turned down Edward Snowden's asylum request, confirms MEA

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 02 July 2013, 04:24 PM

India has turned down American whistle-blower Edwar Snowden's request for asylum in the country, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has confirmed.

"The Indian Embassy in Moscow did receive a request for asylum in a communication dated 30 June from Mr Edward Snowden. Following careful examination we have concluded that we see no reason to accede to the Snowden request," MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.

Snowden, currently sheltered in the transit zone of Moscow airport, has sought asylum in 20 countries, including India.

Earlier on Tuesday, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said that India is not an open house for asylums.

Khurshid said it was not in his knowledge that Snowden has requested asylum. "I wouldn't want to comment on something that is, maybe, just hearsay," Khurshid said.

“India has given asylums in past, but we are not an open house for asylums since we have a very careful and objective policy," he added.

These asylum requests have been filed by Sarah Harrison, legal advisor of Wikileaks in the matter of Snowden, the whistle-blower website said on Tuesday, adding that the first two requests were made to Ecuador, followed by Iceland.

"On 30th June 2013 WikiLeaks' legal advisor in the Edward Snowden matter, Sarah Harrison, submitted by hand a number of requests for asylum and asylum assistance on behalf of Edward J Snowden," Wikileaks said in a statement.

"The requests were delivered to an official at the Russian consulate at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow late in the evening," it said, adding the documents outline the risks of persecution Snowden faces in the US and have started to be delivered by the Russian consulate to the relevant embassies in Moscow. 

The requests were made to a number of countries including Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italian, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Spain, Swiss Confederation, Venezuela.

The Obama Administration has warned countries not to give asylum to Snowden arguing that he is wanted in the US on charges of espionage and leaking classified information.

The US on Monday said Snowden, whose passport has been revoked, would be given a fair trial and enjoys all the rights of an American citizen.

Snowden worked for the NSA before he fled to Hong Kong last month with laptops full of confidential information. He is believed to be currently holed up in the Moscow airport's transit zone since his arrival from Hong Kong on June 23.

He is wanted in the US on the charges of espionage and leaking classified documents. Documents leaked by him last month exposed a systematic and large-scale surveillance of phone and internet communications by the NSA around the world.

According to his leaks, the Indian Embassy in the US is among the list of 38 diplomatic missions which were being spied upon by American intelligence agencies.

Related Articles:

India not an open house for asylums, says Salman Khurshid
Snowden seeks asylum in India, 19 other countries
Snowden accuses Obama administration of leaving him a stateless person

First Published: Tuesday, July 02, 2013 04:16 PM
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