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Russia says Snowden can request for asylum

Moscow: The former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has a chance to receive political asylum from Moscow if he requests it, a Russian official said on Thursday.

"It can be considered by the president if Mr Snowden files such a request," reported Xinhua citing Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council.

Noting that he approached the situation from the perspective of human rights protection rather than foreign policy, Fedotove said: "A person, disclosing secrets concealed by special services, if these secrets are a threat to millions of people ... such a person does deserve political asylum in this or that country."

Support for Snowden. AFP.

Support for Snowden. AFP.

"I think it will be the right thing to do if they do grant him asylum," Fedotov said, adding the whistleblower "must be under the protection of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees throughout this procedure."

Snowden has been charged by the US government with three felonies, including two under the Espionage Act. He arrived in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport June 23. But he could neither cross the Russian border nor buy another air ticket out since he does not have a Russian visa while his passport was annulled.

Ecuadorian foreign ministry confirmed earlier they had received an asylum request from Snowden, but there would be no quick decision on whether to grant him asylum status.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday that he would also consider an asylum request from Snowden if the country received one.

IANS