Edward Snowden, the American fugitive responsible for leaking information about controversial intelligence surveillance by US security agencies, has filed a petition seeking asylum in 21 countries including India, even as Washington is doing whatever it takes to get the whistleblower extradited on espionage charges.
The 30-year-old ex-contractor of National Security Agency is believed to be holed up in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport ever since he travelled there from Hong Kong last week. His passport has been revoked and President Barack Obama has said several times to reporters that the fugitive must be returned to US soil since he does not have proper travel documents.
Wikileaks' founder Julian Assange who has been helping Snowden, had said a few weeks ago that India should stand fearless and give asylum to Snowden. Nearly two weeks after the news broke out, the whistleblower has applied for asylum in India, the only problem being is that India is highly unlikely to give asylum to the fugitive, reported IBN Live citing government officials.
There has been a general consensus that it was probably the worst idea for Snowden to have left Hong Kong only to have his passport annulled making him a stateless person. That forced him to be gripped in an ever increasing legal limbo. Even when the fugitive knocks on the door of every country possible for safe haven, the larger question is how will he ever travel to another place without legal documents or passport?
Given that Assange has been a hard-liner in his stance towards India's ignorance when he had reportedly asked for asylum, the fact that Snowden has included India as one of his choices seems to be nothing but an effort to gain favour from any country in this matter. It looks like Snowden and Assange are juggling with an idea that some country might suddenly rise from slumber and be the 'hero' that saves one from a perilous tempest within the rising tides of a global geo-political furore.
Although Snowden has landed up in a legal gridlock where escaping seems to be very difficult, the US too has the grand task of saving its name that has come into stake lately. The news of Snowden's asylum-hunt in 21 countries comes after European Union officials lambasted Washington and demanded an explanation regarding a recent disclosure made by Geman newsweekly Der Spiegal that US has been spying on European officials. The German magazine reported citing Snowden's leaked documents it had reportedly seen.
The high-profile case of Snowden has entangled itself and snowballed into a global political issue. While it has become an exemplary case that could induce irreparable damage to the Obama administration, one important issue it has raised is a debate between country's security and the public's civil liberties, freedom and rights.
"For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum" Snowden said in a Wikileaks statement, "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."
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