Snowden: Russia will consider asylum

2013-06-11 19:27
Edward Snowden (AFP)

Edward Snowden (AFP)

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Moscow - Russia would consider granting asylum to the American who has exposed top-secret US surveillance programmes, if he were to ask for it, President Vladimir Putin's spokesperson said on Tuesday.

Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stopped short of saying Moscow would accept Edward Snowden, but pro-Kremlin lawmakers spoke out in favour of the idea, tapping into a lingering Cold War rivalry with the United States and a vein of anti-American sentiment Putin has often encouraged.

"Promising Snowden asylum, Moscow takes upon itself the defence of people persecuted for political reasons," Alexei Pushkov, chairperson of the international affairs committee in the lower house of parliament, said on Twitter.

"There will be hysteria in the United States. They recognise this as their right alone," he said.

Putin and other Russian officials have often accused the United States of hypocrisy, saying it tries to impose standards of human rights, freedom and democracy on other nations while falling far short of them itself.

Snowden, who provided the information for reports that revealed broad monitoring of phone call and Internet data by the US government, fled to Hong Kong and has said he hopes that Iceland might grant him asylum.

He is not known to have mentioned the possibility of asylum in Russia, but Peskov was quoted in Russian daily Kommersant as saying Moscow was open to such an approach.

Asked by Reuters whether Russia would be inclined to grant an asylum request, the spokesperson said: "It is impossible [to say] now. No one has applied yet. If he says: I request [political asylum], then we will consider it".

Read more on:    edward snowden  |  vladimir putin  |  us  |  russia  |  privacy

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