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Rights activists believe Russia should grant political asylum to Snowden

June 27, 2013, 9:44 UTC+3
Presidential council for human rights waits for Snowden to make request
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Representatives of the Presidential council for human rights decided to intervene on behalf of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee, who is being persecuted for disclosing sensitive information guarded by U.S. secret services.

They are ready to directly ask President Vladimir Putin to grant political asylum to Snowden, the Izvestia writes.

"It's a shame that Russia is not using the situation and is not giving Snowden the opportunity to stay in its territory. I forwarded letters to my colleagues requesting them to gather and address the president," chairman of the National Anticorruption Committee Kirill Kabanov said.

Head of Presidential council for human rights /SPCh/ Mikhail Fedotov had seen Kabanov's request to his colleagues but said he was not ready to support it yet.

"The issue of granting political asylum depends on two sides: the person who seeks it and the one who reviews the request. Snowden has not asked Russia for political asylum. He has the first word in this situation," Fedotov underlined, adding that "we're not going to force political asylum."

He assured the newspaper that he would be absolutely safe in Russia, under the protection of the Geneva convention, until some other country granted him political asylum. Extraditing him to the United States is out of the question.

Other members of the Council, though still ambivalent on the protection of Snowden, are not opposed to giving support to the former CIA employee, but under certain conditions.

"This person is being persecuted. He found himself at a Russian airport, and Russia can grant political asylum to him. But it would be logical if he were the first to ask for protection and show this will," lawyer and Council member Anatoly Kucherena said.

Member of the Memorial rights organization Sergei Krivenko called for discussing the Snowden issue at a SPCh session, so that the proposals to grant political asylum to him did not remain a personal initiative by certain SPCh members.

"On the one hand, we have to protect all those who are persecuted. On the other, he has presumably harmed his state," Krivenko mused.

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