1.1 million petition Brazil to give Snowden asylum

A petition with more than a million signatures was submitted to the Brazilian government on Thursday urging President Dilma Rousseff to grant asylum to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Snowden, now in Russia, asked Brazil for asylum in December in an open letter to its citizens.

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His call was taken up by Avaaz, an international campaigning group that launched the petition in December and has since collected more than 1.1 million signatures.

"The Brazilian government had said it required a formal request from Snowden to grant asylum. Today, more than a million people have done what Snowden cannot and presented this request in his name," Avaaz Director Ricken Patel told Agence France-Presse in a statement.

In exchange for asylum, Snowden offered to aid Brazil in investigating the NSA’s surveillance operations in their country. Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who obtained and reported on the first document Snowden leaked, lives in Brazil.

The European Union also considered granting Snowden asylum this week. Members of the EU parliament debated an amendment to a report this week that would have required EU nations to provide protection to Snowden. A parliamentary committee, however, voted against the amendment on Wednesday. 

Snowden’s temporary asylum status in Russia expires at the end of July. One Russian official recently hinted his protection could be extended.