I'm not a criminal: Bolivia's Morales

2013-07-03 12:08
Bolivia's President Evo Morales, centre, talks to reporters at Vienna's Schwechat airport. (Hans Punz, AP)

Bolivia's President Evo Morales, centre, talks to reporters at Vienna's Schwechat airport. (Hans Punz, AP)

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Vienna - Bolivian President Evo Morales angrily denied any wrongdoing on Wednesday after his plane was diverted to Vienna over suspicion fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden was on board.

"I'm not a criminal," the Austria Press Agency quoted Morales as saying at Vienna airport, after France, Italy, Spain and Portugal denied his plane entry into their airspace overnight.

Bolivian and Austrian officials said Snowden was not aboard the plane which arrived from Moscow late on Tuesday, though no search of the jet has been carried out.

The Russian capital is also where Snowden has been holed up in an airport transit area since 23 June. He is seeking to avoid US espionage charges for revealing a vast surveillance programme to collect phone and internet data.

Morales told reporters that Madrid had asked to inspect his plane before giving it permission to enter its airspace, a request he said he denied because it would violate international law.

Spain has since granted Bolivia permission to fly over its territory, the foreign ministry in Madrid said.

Read more on:    edward snowden  |  evo morales  |  austria  |  us  |  russia  |  bolivia  |  privacy  |  espionage

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