Snowden’s options dwindle as nations reject asylum request

A host of countries on Tuesday publicly rejected Edward Snowden's request for asylum, dealing a blow to the admitted National Security Agency leaker's efforts to evade a U.S. extradition order.

Snowden formally sought asylum in 21 countries according to a statement posted on the website of WikiLeaks, which is advising him on legal matters. He withdrew an asylum request from Russia, and three other countries – India, Brazil and Poland – said they would not offer him refuge on Tuesday.


“We have carefully examined the request,” a spokesman for India's foreign ministry told Reuters. “Following that examination, we have concluded that we see no reason to accede to the request.”

Snowden remains stuck in transit at the Moscow airport after the United States revoked his passport. He is making the asylum requests to foreign embassies in the Russian capital.

“Snowden Has No Chance of Asylum in Poland,” Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski tweeted Tuesday. The tweet linked to a Wall Street Journal story that quoted him saying that asylum requests needed to be in the “important interest” of Poland, a staunch U.S. ally, and that criteria had "not been met” in Snowden’s case.

Brazil's foreign ministry also decided to turn down Snowden, a spokesman told Reuters.

Snowden has also applied for asylum with Austria, Bolivia, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela.

Snowden initially fled to Hong Kong from Hawaii after disclosing the NSA's secret surveillance programs. Authorities there allowed him to board a flight to Moscow despite an extradition request from the U.S.

China is unlikely to want Snowden back, after U.S. officials sharply criticized Beijing for allowing him to travel.

Snowden also sought asylum from Ecuador. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, however, has said they won't consider the asylum application unless Snowden first gets to Ecuador, which seems unlikely.

Minority parties in France and Germany meanwhile are calling on their governments to welcome Snowden, but those countries' leaders have so far stayed out of the fray.

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