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Edward Snowden Flees Hong Kong For Russia. Next Stop…Ecuador?

The Guardian / AFP

Aleteia - published on 06/24/13

US authorities have formally charged the whistleblower with espionage.

NSA’s whistleblower Edward Snowden has left Hong Kong for Russia, and reportedly intends on making a bid for Ecuador. 
Last month Ed Snowden fled the US for Hong Kong, where he revealed to the British newspaper, The Guardian, that the NSA had developed the top secret surveillance program, called Prism, where they are able to access people's private information (from all over the world) that pass through internet giants such as Microsoft and Google.
Two days ago the US announced that they have formally charged Snowden with the crimes of espionage. US authorities are reported to have asked HKSAR (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) government for his immediate detention, so that his extradition back to the US may be effectuated. 
Hong Kong appealed to authorities in mainland China to intervene with the delicate situation. 
A day after the US asked Hong Kong to hand the young whistleblower over, they announced that Snowden had left the country of his own free will, heading “for a third country through a lawful and normal channel.”
With regards to not complying with US requests for Snowden’s detention, Hong Kong released the following statement: “The US government earlier on made a request to the HKSAR government for the issue of a provisional warrant of arrest against Mr Snowden. Since the documents provided by the US government did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law, the HKSAR government has requested the US government to provide additional information so that the Department of Justice could consider whether the US government's request can meet the relevant legal conditions.”
They continue: "As the HKSAR government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.”
They stated that they have already told the US government of Snowden's departure, and have requested information detailing Hong Kong’s exposure to the US government’s ‘hacking’ of private information. 
"Meanwhile, the HKSAR government has formally written to the US government requesting clarification on earlier reports about the hacking of computer systems in Hong Kong by US government agencies. The HKSAR government will continue to follow up on the matter so as to protect the legal rights of the people of Hong Kong."
Snowden flew out from Hong Kong at 10.55am and landed in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, Russia at 5.15pm local time. 
The Russian government claims to know nothing about the details of Snowden’s arrival in Moscow. President Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that they heard about it from the press. 
With regard to accepting Snowden’s appeal for asylum, he stated: “Every application is considered, so it's standard procedure…We are not tracing his movements and I know nothing."
There are reports coming in that Russia has no intention of detaining Snowden, since he has committed no crimes on Russian soil, and they have received no formal requests from interpol to arrest him. 
A Wikileaks affiliated businessman from Iceland revealed to Reuters that they had organised a private jet for Snowden in China, and were just waiting for confirmation of asylum before they flew him out.” 
BBC correspondent Daniel Sanford said that Snowden is believed to be flying out to Cuba, and then on to Venezuela, before final arrival in Ecuador. Sanford explained that the whistleblower was trying to avoid any country that would detain him for extradition back to the US. 
Ecuador is also currently providing asylum for Wikileaks founder Julian, who has been living in the London embassy for the last year. Foreign Minister for Ecuador, Ricardo Patino, has stated that Snowden’s appeal for asylum was being “analysed.”

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