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Ecuador FM confirms asylum request from NSA leaker

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Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino

The foreign minister of Ecuador says his country is considering a request for asylum from the National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden who is being persecuted by the United States.

Ricardo Patino also questioned on Monday the concept of treason charges against NSA leaker Edward Snowden, adding that the alleged US surveillance program is a rights abuse against the entire world.

“We will consider the position of the US government and we will take a decision in due time in line with the (Ecuadorean) constitution, the laws, international politics and sovereignty,” the foreign minister added.

Patino highlighted the importance of human rights principles as the most important consideration, noting that Ecuadorian officials are also considering “the consequences of our decisions.”

“Ecuador’s government has maintained respectful contact with the Russian government and has said that it is considering the asylum request,” Patino said.

On Sunday, Snowden arrived in Moscow after he left Hong Kong to avoid US extradition.

Meanwhile, Washington has reportedly revoked Snowden’s passport, with State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, saying the fugitive “should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel, other than is necessary to return him to the US.”

Snowden leaked two top secret US government spying programs under which the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

Several US government officials including President Obama and FBI director Robert Mueller have defended the secret spying programs claiming that they are essential to the fight against terrorism.


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