rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » Snowden accuses Obama of blocking asylum requests

Snowden accuses Obama of blocking asylum requests

July 02, 2013 08:59 IST

United States intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has accused President Barack Obama of denying him his right to asylum, in a statement, a first since flying to Russia on June 23, published by Wikileaks.

The former Central Investigation Agency analyst has applied for asylum in Russia. Currently holed up in a Moscow airport hotel, he is wanted by the US on charges of espionage. Here is his full statement.

One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.

On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic "wheeling and dealing" over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the president ordered his vice president to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.

This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.

For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the US in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.

In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised -- and it should be.

I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.

Image: A woman holds up a protest sign in Charter Garden, Central, Hong Kong at the start of the protest rally in support of Edward Snowden

Photograph: Jessica Hromas/Getty Images