Putin says Snowden can stay, lawyer says application filed

01/07/2013 22:49


Vladimir Putin said Monday that Edward Snowden could only stay in Russia if he stops the leaks but that it appears that the whistleblower has no intent on doing that.Snowden can stay in Russia if he “stops his work aimed at damaging our American partners.”

The president also observed that the 30-year-old whistleblower does not seem intent on putting ending the leaks, according to Russia Today.

A lawyer has said Snowden filed for asylum in Russia last night.

Kim Shevchenko, Sheremetyevo airport consul, says Snowden did apply for asylum, Interfax reported.

According to the official, Sara Harrison [WikiLeaks activist], who introduced herself as Snowden’s lawyer, lodged Snowden's application document Sunday evening.

A diplomat said he took that file, contacted the Foreign Ministry, and gave the document to the Ministry’s courier.

Harboring a terrorist or a persecuted human rights defender?

Earlier, Putin lashed out at US accusations that Russia was harbouring a fugitive, as accused.

"Any accusations against Russia are nonsense and rubbish," stated Putin.

Russia Today tweeted earlier on Monday that Putin has again flat denied that Snowden had worked with Russia.

Putin has supported both Snowden, holed up in the Moscow airport, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, holed up at Ecuador's embassy in London.

"Assange and Snowden consider themselves human rights activists and say they are fighting for the spread of information," Putin said. "Ask yourself this: should you hand these people over so they will be put in prison?

"In any case, I'd rather not deal with such questions, because anyway it's like shearing a pig – lots of screams but little wool."

The U.S. holds the world record for holding more people in prisons and executing more people than any other country.

Tens of thousands of people in American state, federal and private prisons are political prisoners.

Meanwhile, Venezuela President Maduro, who has offered immediate humanitarian aid to Snowden, landed in Russia Monday.

Unlike Putin, Maduro has not expressed any proviso with his offer to Snowden for safe haven from the Obama regime. Instead, he has hailed Snowden for exposing "truth" to the world.

Ecuador's President Correa has also offered asylum to Snowden, along with publicly ridiculing the U.S. for its human rights abuses. The Ecuadoran application process would take longer there, according to recent statements.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans, including high-profile scholars and celebrities, have signed petitioned for other country's leaders to provide asylum for Snowden.

"In a sense, the United States has gone from a 'model of human rights' to 'an eavesdropper on personal privacy', the 'manipulator' of the centralised power over the international internet, and the mad 'invader' of other countries' networks," says the People's Daily.

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