Edward Snowden seeks asylum in Ireland and 20 other countries

2 Jul 2013

Former CIA contractor Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, the former CIA contractor who revealed activities of the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US, has applied for asylum in Ireland, as well as 20 other countries.

Snowden faces charges in the US for disclosing details of the US government’s covert internet and phone surveillance programmes, such as the NSA’s alleged PRISM programme, said to have monitored the servers of internet giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple.

RTÉ reports a spokesman at Ireland’s Department of Justice as having said the department does not comment on individual cases, but that under Irish legislation, the country can only accept asylum applications from persons who are already in the State.

Whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks states that Snowden has applied for asylum in Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, the Russian Federation, Spain, Switzerland, Venezuela, Ecuador and Iceland.

“On 30th June 2013 WikiLeaks’ legal advisor in the Edward Snowden matter, Sarah Harrison, submitted by hand a number of requests for asylum and asylum assistance on behalf of Edward J. Snowden, the NSA whistleblower,” WikiLeaks reports.

“The requests were delivered to an official at the Russian consulate at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow late in the evening. The documents outline the risks of persecution Mr Snowden faces in the United States and have started to be delivered by the Russian consulate to the relevant embassies in Moscow.”

Snowden (30) is believed to have filed his asylum claim from the closed transit area of Sheremetyevo airport, where he has been waiting since fleeing from Hong Kong on 23 June, The Telegraph reported.

Yesterday, Snowden issued a statement on WikiLeaks about the current state of his case, in which he deemed alleged actions by the Obama administration as “old, bad tools of political aggression”.

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic