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Venezuela offers asylum to Snowden

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-07-06 10:44

CARACAS - Venezuela will give "humanitarian asylum" to former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who is believed to be in limbo in the transit area of a Moscow airport, President Nicolas Maduro said Friday.

"As head of state of the Boliviarian republic of Venezuela, I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young Snowden ... to protect this young man from the persecution launched by the most powerful empire in the world," Maduro told a televised military parade marking the South American nation's independence day.

He added that Snowden is not guilty for revealing a massive U.S. spy program.

"He has told the truth, in the spirit of rebellion, about the U.S. spying on the whole world," the president said.

Snowden, 30, was charged by the U.S. government with three felonies after he disclosed a highly classified surveillance project code-named PRISM, which can intercept e-mails and phone conversations of millions of people.

He arrived at Moscow's Sheremetyevo international airport on June 23 and has since stayed in the transit zone after his U.S. passport was revoked.

Snowden's request for political asylum have been rebuffed by several European nations, as well as Brazil and India.

Earlier in the day, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega also said his government would be willing to grant political asylum to Snowden "if conditions permit."

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