Venezuela looking like whistleblower’s last hope

Most of 21 nations Snowden applied to have rejected request for asylum

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrives for a meeting with  his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, this morning. Photograph: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrives for a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, this morning. Photograph: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov


Former US secret service contractor Edward Snowden has applied for political asylum in 21 countries according to the Wikileaks. Here are their responses so far, which will be updated over the course of the day:


Snowden applied to Austria via the country’s Moscow embassy on Monday but would need to submit such a request directly in Austria, Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said today. The Austria Press Agency quoted her as saying Snowden would not be deported if he arrived in Austria because “there is no international arrest warrant”.


Bolivian President Evo Morales told Russian state-run RT television today that his country is ready to consider Snowden’s request.


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Ecuador President Rafael Correa told the Guardian in an interview published today that his country isn’t considering Mr Snowden’s request and said it was a “mistake” to have granted the fugitive a safe-conduct pass that allowed him to depart Hong Kong for Moscow.


Finland said it had received a request for political asylum from Mr Snowden, but that it could not accept his application as Finnish law required him to be in the country. Finnish foreign ministry spokeswoman Tytti Pylkko said that Mr Snowden had sent his request by fax to Finland’s embassy in Moscow.


Officials say there has been no formal request for asylum.


Germany rejected his asylum bid because it didn’t meet the requirements for political refuge.


Although it was reported Iceland was one of the first countries where Mr Snowden had sought asylum officials there say they had nove received any formal request.


India sees no reason to accept a request for political asylum by Mr Snowden, the country’s foreign ministry said today. “Indian Embassy in Moscow did receive a request for asylum in a communication dated 30 June from Mr Edward Snowden,” Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesman for India’s foreign ministry, said on Twitter. “Following careful examination we have concluded that we see no reason to accede to the Snowden request,” he said.


Italy said they had not received any formal request for asylum.


A spokesman for the Department of Justice said that Irish legislation stated that an asylum application can only be accepted from a person who has landed in or is within the State.

The Netherlands

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Norway has confirmed Mr Snowden’s asylum request but it is unlikely to be accepted. “Delivering an application for asylum from abroad is in principle not allowed,” Norwegian deputy justice secretary Paal Loenseth told state broadcaster NRK. “Applying for asylum should be done on Norwegian soil. According to normal procedures ... his demand will be denied.”


Poland has received a document seeking asylum from Mr Snowden but its foreign minister said he would not recommend granting the request. “We received a document that does not meet the requirements for a formal application for asylum,” Radoslaw Sikorski wrote on his Twitter account. “Even if it did, I will not give a positive recommendation.”


Mr Snowden has withdrawn his Russian asylum request because of the demand that he stop harming US interests by leaking secret documents


Spain said any application by Mr Snowden for political asylum would be invalid since he is not on Spanish soil. “For an asylum petition to become a petition that the government could study, in other words for it to be legally admissible, it has to be made by a person who is in Spain,” Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo told reporters. He said he had no knowledge of any application to Spain.


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Venezuela, whose President Nicolas Maduro said last month his country would “almost surely” give asylum to Snowden if he asked for it, may be the fugitive’s last hope for a destination other than Russia, according to Fyodor Lukyanov, the editor of Russia in Global Affairs, a Moscow-based foreign affairs magazine.

The Venezuelan leader, who was holding talks today with Russian president Vladimir Putin after a gas exporters’ summit yesterday, indicated that he wouldn’t take Snowden with him from Moscow, state news service RIA reported. Venezuela hasn’t received an asylum application, Mr Maduro said, adding that the American deserves protection under international and humanitarian law.