Catch me if you can: Edward Snowden leaves Hong Kong for Moscow, may ask Ecuador for asylum
PRISM whistleblower Edward Snowden fled Hong Kong Sunday afternoon using normal transport channels and went to Moscow. The former contractor of the National Security Agency is said to be seeking asylum in Ecuador even as the United States gets frustrated with the international chase.
U.S. authorities have asked the Hong Kong government to extradite Snowden but the latter did not comply to a request citing that the documents submitted by the former were insufficient.
"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. The HKSAR Government has already informed the US Government of Mr. Snowden's departure," stated the Hong Kong government through a press release.
According to a report on New York Times, Snowden eluded American authorities, who had rushed to Hong Kong, with the assistance of Wikileaks. The controversial anti-secrecy group said that it has arranged refugee travel to Ecuador for Snowden.
Snowden was allegedly visited by a diplomat of Ecuador while in a Moscow airport but the details are very limited if the American will be allowed to continue his travel and if Ecuador will accept him as a refugee.
News agencies in Russia monitored if the fugitive will take a booked flight to Cuba but a Fox News report confirmed that Snowden skipped an Aeroflot flight headed for Havana.
The foreign minister of Ecuador Ricardo Patino, who first confirmed via Twitter that the Ecuadorian government has received an asylum request from Snowden, said that his government is considering and evaluating the request.
The White House has expressed its disappointment with the Hong Kong's government denial of the extradition request and is hopeful that Russia will extend its help to capture the fugitive.
"We expect the Russian government to look at all options available to expel Mr. Snowden back to the U.S. to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged," said NSA spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.
The United States government said it does not know where Snowden is going or where he is located. It has revoked Snowden's passport and has pressured countries not to allow passage.
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