Zee Media Bureau
Washington: US whistleblower Edward Snowden has applied for political asylum in India along with 20 other countries, WikiLeaks revealed Tuesday.
The asylum requests on Snowden`s behalf were made to more than a dozen of countries spanning Europe, Latin and central America and Asia, by Sarah Harrison, WikiLeaks` legal advisor to Edward Snowden.
The names of the countries, that Snowden has applied to for asylum are enlisted on the website of WikiLeaks.
According to a WikiLeaks` statement, "The requests were made to a number of countries including the Republic of Austria, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, the Federative Republic of Brazil, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Cuba, the Republic of Finland, the French Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of India, the Italian Republic, the Republic of Ireland, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Republic of Nicaragua, the Kingdom of Norway, the Republic of Poland, the Russian Federation, the Kingdom of Spain, the Swiss Confederation and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela".
Other than the nineteen countries enlisted on wikiLeaks`s website, Snowden has already applied for asylum in Ecuador and Iceland, bringing to 21 the number of countries where he has applied for a political asylum.
Snowden on Monday issued a statement slamming Barack Obama for blocking his asylum requests to other countries.
"These are the old, bad tools of political aggression," Snowden said in the statement issued through WikiLeaks, which has been assisting his effort to find a haven from US espionage charges. "Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me."
Describing himself as "a stateless person", Snowden scathed Obama administration for denying him the "basic right to seek asylum".
"This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile."
"The President ordered his vice president to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions," Snowden was quoted by Wikileaks as saying.
The Obama Administration has warned countries not to give asylum to Snowden arguing that he is wanted in the US on charges of espionage and leaking classified information.
The US yesterday said Snowden, whose passport has been revoked, would be given a fair trial and enjoys all the rights of an American citizen.
"We`re prepared to issue one-entry travel documents. He`s still a US citizen. He still enjoys the rights of his US citizenship, which include the right to a free and fair trial for the crimes he`s been accused of," State Department spokesperson Patrick Ventrell told reporters.
"He (Snowden) enjoys the rights and responsibilities of any US citizen, including the right to a free and fair trial under our Constitution," he said, adding that "He has a country to return to, which is the United States of America."
Snowden, who is currently stuck in a legal limbo, is sheltered in the transit zone of Moscow airport after fleeing from Hong Kong.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had yesterday hinted at a possible granting of asylum to Snowden if he stopped leaking more information.
"If he wants to go somewhere and someone will take him, go ahead. If he wants to stay here, there is one condition – he must stop his work aimed at bringing harm to our American partners, as strange as that sounds coming from my mouth," Putin said.
Putin had earlier denied that the US whistleblower was on Kremlin’s agenda. He had also denied extraditing Snowden to US, saying that Russia didn’t have an extradition treaty with the US.
Snowden, 30, had blown the lid off National Security Agency`s secret spy programme and is charged with violating American espionage laws.
Snowden continues to spew secrets after secret with the latest expose being that the US bugged EU offices and missions and embassies of EU allies.
The documents provided by Snowden revealed that Indian embassy was among one the 38 "targets" that National Security Agency snooped upon.
Earlier reports had claimed that India is the fifth most tracked country by the US intelligence.