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UPDATED Tue Jul 2 5:21:48 EDT 2013 Back
NSA whistleblower Snowden seeks asylum in India: WikiLeaks
NSA whistleblower Snowden seeks asylum in India: WikiLeaks

LONDON: Three weeks after Julian Assangetold TOI exclusively that India should not hesitate to give Edward Snowden asylum, the NSA whistleblower has now officially asked India for political protection from the US.

WikiLeaks revealed on Tuesday that Snowdenhas officially submitted asylum requests to 19 countries including India and China.

Asylum requests have also been made to Austria,Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela.

Assange, who called Snowden a hero for exposing how America was snooping into people's emails, phone calls, messages en masse and across the globe, had told TOI: "It was because of Snowden that India came to know how US was snooping on them. It is a moral obligation for India to protect Snowden. India is a superpower and does not have to fear other nations. Now is the time for India to show it stands up for human rights."

WikiLeaks on Tuesday said that on June 30, 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 Snowden.

The requests were delivered to an official at the Russian consulate at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow.

WikiLeaks said, "the documents outline the risks of persecution Mr Snowden faces in the US and have started to be delivered by the Russian consulate to the relevant embassies in Moscow.

The requests join or update others previously made including to Ecuador and Iceland."

WikiLeaks chief Assange had told TOI that India should grant political asylum to America's most wanted Snowden for exposing how the former was among the top five countries most extensively monitored by the American National Security Agency (NSA) under the prism programme.

Assange said, "if a small nation like Ecuador with just 14 million people could have the guts to provide him asylum, India, which has considerable global standing with a billion plus population, should not be afraid of standing up for human rights and giving Snowden asylum."