US sends Government an arrest warrant for Snowden
Options narrow for US whistleblower as Iceland will not to debate issue before summer recess
Under Icelandic law, parliament can grant citizenship to foreigners, which can otherwise usually only be gained through naturalisation after a period of residence.
Iceland’s recently elected centre-right government is seen as unwilling to engage in an international dispute with the US than the previous government, even if it wants to maintain the country’s reputation for promoting internet freedom.
“It is a disappointment that he is facing limited options,” WikiLeaks’ Icelandic spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson told Reuters.
Mr Snowden is wanted for questioning in the US following his releasing information outlining how the US government was engaged in the wholesale interception of email and telephone messages.
He is believed to be in the transit lounge of Moscow airport.
While the receipt of the provisional arrest documentation by the Department of Justice yesterday appears based on the possibility he may try to travel to Havana on the regular Aeroflot flight via Shannon, security sources in Dublin believe this is unlikely.
“We would think he’ll stay in Russia for at least a while but the papers are with us now so the option of using Shannon to get to Cuba is probably out for him,” one source said.
Mr Snowden (30) has already made efforts to seek political asylum in a large number of countries including Ireland. He could not make such an application unless he was physically in Ireland.
However, if he travelled via Shannon as part of his efforts to get to Cuba and was arrested under the provisional arrest warrant pending an extradition process by the American authorities in the Irish courts, he could apply for asylum while being held in prison here.
The plane of Bolivian president Evo Morales was denied permission to fly over some European countries on Wednesday after leaving Moscow when it was suspected Mr Snowden could be on board.
He worked for the National Security Agency as a contractor in Hawaii, has been trying since June 23rd to find a country that will offer him refuge from prosecution in the United States on espionage charges.
Russian president Vladimir Putin is unwilling to sendMr Snowden to the United States, with which Russia has no extradition treaty.
Additional reporting: Reuters