New Delhi/Washington: The attempts of American whistle-blower Edward Snowden to seek refuge outside the United States hit hurdles on Tuesday as India including several other countries turned down his request for asylum.

"I can confirm that earlier today our Embassy in Moscow did receive a communication dated 30 June from Mr Edward Snowden. That communication did contain a request for asylum. We have carefully examined the request. Following that examination we have concluded that we see no reason to accede to the request," spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said here.

The US intelligence leaker, who is currently sheltered in the transit zone of Moscow airport, has sought asylum in 20 countries, including India.

Russian media reported that Snowden has cancelled his asylum bid in Russia and several European countries said such applications wouldn't be considered if they were made from abroad.

Russian news agencies on Tuesday quoted President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that Snowden withdrew his request when he learnt about the terms Moscow has set out. Putin said on Monday that Russia is ready to shelter Snowden as long as he stops leaking US secrets. At the same time, Putin said he had no plans to turn over Snowden to the United States.

Meanwhile, several other countries, where the WikiLeaks says Snowden has applied for asylum, have said he cannot apply from abroad. Officials in Germany, Norway, Austria, Poland, Finland and Switzerland all said he must make his request on their soil.

These asylum requests were filed by Sarah Harrison, legal advisor of Wikileaks in the matter of Snowden, the whistle-blower website said on Tuesday. The requests were made to a number of countries including Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italian, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Spain, Swiss Confederation, and Venezuela.

The Obama Administration has warned countries not to give asylum to Snowden arguing that he is wanted in the US on charges of espionage and leaking classified information.

Obama administration has left me stateless: Snowden

Making a scathing attack on the Obama administration, Edward Snowden alleged that he has been left as a "stateless" person because of no fault of his.
"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," Snowden wrote in a letter which was posted on the Wikileaks website.
"Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me from exercising a basic right, a right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum," he wrote in the letter.
Edward wrote, that one week ago he left Hong Kong after it became clear that his 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," he said.
"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," Snowden alleged.
Snowden still an American citizen: US

Meanwhile, the Obama administration said that Snowden, whose passport has been revoked, would be given a fair trial and enjoys all the rights of an American citizen. "We're prepared to issue one-entry travel documents. He's still a US citizen. He still enjoys the rights of his US citizenship, which include the right to a free and fair trial for the crimes he's been accused of," State Department spokesperson Patrick Ventrell told reporters. "He (Snowden) enjoys the rights and responsibilities of any US citizen, including the right to a free and fair trial under our Constitution," he said, adding that "He has a country to return to, which is the United States of America."

Snowden worked for the NSA before he fled to Hong Kong last month with laptops full of confidential information. He is believed to be currently holed up in the Moscow airport's transit zone since his arrival from Hong Kong on June 23. He is wanted in the US on the charges of espionage and leaking classified documents. Documents leaked by him last month exposed a systematic and large-scale surveillance of phone and internet communications by the NSA around the world. According to his leaks, the Indian Embassy in the US is among the list of 38 diplomatic missions which were being spied upon by American intelligence agencies.


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