Edward Snowden applies for asylum in 21 countries

  • US surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden has applied for asylum in 21 countries, according to a statement released by Wikileaks on Tuesday.

    Snowden, who is currently at Moscow airport, also sent a request to Russia but later withdrew it after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would only be welcome if he stopped "his work aimed at bringing harm" to the United States.

    Snowden has reportedly been in the transit area of Sheremetyevo since arriving there from Hong Kong on June 23.

    Austria, Ecuador, Finland, India, Ireland, Norway, Poland and Spain have also rejected his application on the basis that his request was invalid as it was not made from their own territory.

    Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Nicaragua and Switzerland have not yet responded.

    However, Venezuela may be a possibility after President Nicolas Maduro said during a visit to Russia he would consider an asylum request, adding that Snowden "deserves the world's protection".

    When whether he would take Snowden back to Venezuela with him, Maduro replied: "What we're taking with us are multiple agreements that we're signing with Russia, including oil and gas."

    Snowden, a former intelligence systems analyst, is wanted by the United States on charges of leaking secrets.

    The leaking of classified intelligence documents has revealed the U.S. has been systematically compiling vast amounts of phone and web data.

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