Countries' reactions to Snowden's asylum request

2nd July 2013, Comments 0 comments

Fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has sought asylum in 21 countries, WikiLeaks said Tuesday.

The petitions on Snowden's behalf were made to Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela.

Tuesday's requests were in addition to previous petitions to Ecuador and Iceland, according to WikiLeaks.

Snowden however has withdrawn his request to Russia after Moscow told him he would have to stop leaking US intelligence reports, a Kremlin spokesman said on Tuesday.

Here are some of the countries' reactions to his asylum request:

Countries that have rejected his request:

- India: "We have carefully examined the request. Following that examination we have concluded that we see no reason to accede to the request," a foreign ministry spokesman said.

- Poland: "A request that does not respect the formal requirements of an asylum application has arrived. And even if it did meet the requirements, I would not give him a positive recommendation," Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski wrote on Twitter.

- The Netherlands: A justice ministry spokeswoman said an asylum request had been sent to its embassy, but that the applicant has to be in the country to seek asylum and the request would therefore not be considered.

Countries that are considering his request:

- Bolivia: "If there were a request, of course we would be willing to debate and consider the idea," President Evo Morales said.

- Germany: Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle confirmed Germany had received an asylum request and said it would review it "according to the law", though he "could not imagine" that the request would be approved.

- Italy: The foreign ministry said it had received a request by fax which it was considering, even though applicants normally have to apply in person at an embassy or in Italy. "We are contemplating the request. The answer will depend on the government's evaluation," a spokeswoman said.

Countries that have received a request but say the applicant must be in their territory for the request to be valid:

- Austria: The interior minister said an asylum request had been received, but said an application had to be made within in the country and could not be made from an embassy.

- Finland: An asylum application has been received by the embassy in Moscow, but can only be considered if the person is in the country. Exemptions can only be made if the applicant is in his or her home country, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry said.

- Iceland: Iceland's foreign ministry confirmed it had received an asylum request by fax to its embassy in Moscow on Monday and that the request had been forwarded to the interior ministry. However, it reiterated that the intelligence leaker would need to be in Iceland for it to be valid.

- Norway: A request was faxed to the embassy in Moscow on Monday but an application needs to be made in the country for it to be valid, a foreign ministry spokesman said.

- Spain: Madrid said it wouldn't consider Snowden's request since it wasn't filed by a person on Spanish territory, but that it "may consider" an application made there.

Countries that have not received a request:

- France: "We have received no formal request for now," ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot told AFP. A request has to be made within the country, but in some cases a temporary document can be issued so the person can travel to France to make the application.

- Switzerland: "We had no knowledge of any application being filed by Mr Snowden," said a spokeswoman for the Federal Office for Migration, Celine Kohlprath.

Countries that have refused to confirm his request:

- China: "With regard to the case of Snowden, we have been following the developments. I've seen some reports of his petition for political asylum in some countries but I have no information about that," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

- Ireland: The Department of Justice refused to confirm it had received an asylum request from Snowden because it does not comment on individual cases. However, a spokeswoman noted that "Ireland can only accept asylum applications from persons who are already in the State."

© 2013 AFP

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