MOSCOW (AP) — Venezuela's president isn't saying if his country would grant asylum to Edward Snowden -- who has been finding more doors closed to him.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who's visiting Moscow, says his country hasn't received an asylum request from Snowden. But he spoke highly of the former National Security Agency contractor, saying he told "a great truth in an effort to prevent wars." He says Snowden "deserves protection under international and humanitarian law." Maduro says Snowden "did not kill anyone and did not plant a bomb."
Venezuela may now represent Snowden's best chance of finding refuge outside the United States, as he tries to avoid U.S. prosecution for leaking details of two government surveillance programs.
Another option may be the South American country of Bolivia, whose president is also in Moscow for a summit of major gas exporters. Like Maduro, the Bolivian leader is also meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin.
Yesterday, Putin said he would not grant asylum to Snowden unless Snowden agreed to stop leaking U.S. secrets. Snowden then withdrew his application for asylum in Russia. But Putin says he has no plans to turn Snowden over to the United States.
WikiLeaks says asylum requests have been made to about a dozen countries. But Brazil says it doesn't plan to respond. And India said today that the request was turned down.
169-a-14-(Steven Blockmans, head of the EU Foreign policy unit, Centre for European Policy Studies, in AP interview)-"his applications to"-European foreign policy expert Steven Blockmans says Edward Snowden has applied for asylum around the world to avoid being jailed in the U.S. (2 Jul 2013)
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156-c-17-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent)-"home with him"-AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports Venezuela may be Edward Snowden's best chance at finding refuge outside the U.S. (2 Jul 2013)
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APPHOTO XAZ108: Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro listens to Russian President Vladimir Putin, unseen, during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Tuesday, July 2, 2013. Maduro told Russian reporters on Tuesday that his country has not received an application for asylum from Snowden and dodged the question of whether he would take Snowden away with him.(AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service) (2 Jul 2013)
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APPHOTO XAZ106: A view of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, July 2, 2013. Leaker Edward Snowden has been caught in legal limbo in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport since his arrival from Hong Kong on June 23. U.S. President Obama said Monday during his trip to Africa that every intelligence service in Europe, Asia and elsewhere does its best to understand the world better, and that goes beyond what they read in newspapers or watch on TV. It was an attempt to blunt European reaction to new revelations from National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden that the U.S. spies on European governments.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits) (2 Jul 2013)
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