Fugitive Snowden meets with human rights groups, seeks temporary asylum in Russia
Former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden is seeking temporary asylum in Russia and plans to go to Latin America eventually, an organization endorsed by anti-secrecy group Wikileaks said on Twitter today.
Wikileaks Press posted the tweet as Snowden met human rights activists at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and cited a representative of Human Rights watch who attended the meeting.
Separately, a Russian official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed Snowden would apply for asylum in Russia.
Snowden asked to meet human rights groups at a Moscow airport to discuss what he called "threatening behaviour" by the United States to prevent him gaining asylum.
The meeting is the first of its kind since Snowden flew to Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23. He has been stranded in the transit area of Sheremetyevo airport ever since, unable to take up asylum offers from third countries.
Snowden is wanted by Washington on espionage charges for divulging details of secret US surveillance programmes. The email address from which he sent the invitation to human rights groups was confirmed as authentic by an airport official.
"In recent weeks we have witnessed an unlawful campaign by officials in the US Government to deny my right to seek and enjoy this asylum under Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," Snowden wrote.
"The scale of threatening behaviour is without precedent," read the letter, a copy of which was posted to Facebook by an official of Human Rights Watch.