EU to drop asylum demand for Snowden

The European Parliament is expected Wednesday to dismiss guarantees of asylum and security to Edward Snowden.

According to The Guardian newspaper, members of the parliament’s civil liberties committee did not reach a consensus on an amendment that would demand protection for Snowden from European Union (EU) member states. 

The amendment is among 500 the committee is set to vote on adding changes to a 60-page report the Parliament has compiled about the National Security Agency's surveillance programs. 

"The amendment asking for asylum won't go through," Parliament member Claude Moraes of Britain told The Guardian. "That was a red line for the right. There was never going to be a realistic majority for that."

ADVERTISEMENT
Moraes is the principal author of the report.

The proposed amendment on Snowden reads: "[Parliament] calls on EU member states to drop criminal charges, if any, against Edward Snowden and to offer him protection from prosecution, extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistleblower and international human rights defender."

If the amendment fails, the report will call for whistle-blowers to be protected internationally, but it won’t mention Snowden’s name.

Co-author of the Snowden amendment Jan-Philip Albrecht told The Guardian it’s absurd not to name Snowden specifically.

"The only reason for this whole thing is Snowden and now he doesn't get mentioned. It's ridiculous," he said.

The vote comes as European Parliament members debate whether to allow Snowden to testify before the committee via video from Moscow.

Snowden has been living in Russia under temporary asylum since last August. Late last month, an influential Russian lawmaker, Alexey K. Pushkob, hinted Russia might change Snowden’s temporary status so that he can live there indefinitely.

The Obama administration, meanwhile, wants Snowden to return to the United States to face espionage charges. Attorney General Eric Holder recently said he’d be open to having a conversation with Snowden if he accepted responsibility for leaking classified information about the NSA.