Venezuela Undecided On Asylum For Former NSA Contractor Edward Snowden

10:20 AM, Jul 2, 2013   |    comments
Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. (Photo: Getty Images)
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MOSCOW (AP) - Venezuela's president isn't saying if his country would grant asylum to Edward Snowden -- who has been finding more doors closed to him.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who's visiting Moscow, says his country hasn't received an asylum request from Snowden. But he spoke highly of the former National Security Agency contractor, saying he told "a great truth in an effort to prevent wars." He says Snowden "deserves protection under international and humanitarian law." Maduro says Snowden "did not kill anyone and did not plant a bomb."

Venezuela may now represent Snowden's best chance of finding refuge outside the United States, as he tries to avoid U.S. prosecution for leaking details of two government surveillance programs.

Another option may be the South American country of Bolivia, whose president is also in Moscow for a summit of major gas exporters. Like Maduro, the Bolivian leader is also meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

Yesterday, Putin said he would not grant asylum to Snowden unless Snowden agreed to stop leaking U.S. secrets. Snowden then withdrew his application for asylum in Russia. But Putin says he has no plans to turn Snowden over to the United States.

WikiLeaks says asylum requests have been made to about a dozen countries. But Brazil says it doesn't plan to respond. And India said today that the request was turned down.

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