Venezuela offers Edward Snowden hope of asylum - but for now whistleblower is grounded at Moscow airport as Vladimir Putin refuses extradition

Former CIA employee remains stuck at Moscow airport with annulled US passport


Edward Snowden was given another option of a possible safe haven today as the Venezuelan President said he would consider an asylum request for the former NSA contractor. However, there were reports this morning that Mr Snowden's annulled US passport meant he was stuck at Moscow's Sheremetevo Airport, unable to enter Russia proper or buy a ticket out.

"If they proposed it, and it seems that it has been requested of Ecuador … we would also consider it," said Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's President, of a possible asylum bid today. He said that the "information on the violation of civil liberties" leaked by Snowden could "change the world".

Ecuador's foreign minister has said that Mr Snowden has indeed applied for asylum in the country but denies reports that is has issued travel documents. Ecuador has also granted asylum to Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder, who has been stuck in the country's London Embassy for a year. The question now is whether Mr Snowden might end up being stuck in a similar kind of limbo, or whether he will be able to continue on to Venezuela or Ecuador. On Monday he was booked on a scheduled Aeroflot flight to Havana but did not take it, and the Cuba route still seems the most logical way to get from Moscow to Latin America without passing countries that might extradite him to the US. However, the Aeroflot plane does ordinarily fly through US airspace.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday that Mr Snowden was a "free man" and that the sooner he buys a ticket to leave to a destination of his choice, "the better for him, and for us". However, Russian agency Interfax quoted a source close to Mr Snowden this morning saying that his annulled passport meant he could not travel. He was apparently provided refugee documents by Ecuador which enabled him to leave Hong Kong for Moscow, but it is unclear whether these are still valid. Interfax has previously published false information about Mr Snowden's case attributed to unnamed sources.

The US has asked Russia to extradite Mr Snowden, but Mr Putin appeared to rule that out yesterday, saying that pursuing such a course was like "shaving a piglet - there are lots of squeals, but little wool."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before