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Snowden could request asylum in Russia: official

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-06-28 10:02

MOSCOW - US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has a chance to receive political asylum from Moscow if he requests it, a Russian official said Thursday.

"It can be considered by the President if Mr. Snowden files such a request," Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council, told the Interfax news agency.

Fedotov noted that he approached the situation from the perspective of human rights protection rather than foreign policy.

"A person, disclosing secrets concealed by special services, if these secrets are a threat to millions of people ... such a person does deserve political asylum in this or that country," he said.

Snowden, charged by the US government with three felonies, including two under the Espionage Act, arrived in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on June 23. He could neither cross the Russian border, nor buy another air ticket out since he does not have a Russian visa while his passport was annulled.

Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry confirmed earlier they had received an asylum request from Snowden, but there would be no quick decision on whether to grant him asylum status.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday that he would also consider an asylum request from Snowden if the country received one.

"I think it will be the right thing to do if they do grant him asylum," Fedotov said, adding the whistleblower "must be under the protection of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees throughout this procedure."

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