Ecuador says it has received asylum request from Snowden

QUITO Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:09pm EDT

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QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said on Sunday that former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden had asked Ecuador for asylum.

"The Government of Ecuador has received an asylum request from Edward J. #Snowden," Patino, who is on an official visit to Vietnam, said on Twitter.

Patino did not give additional details.

WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson confirmed that Snowden had requested asylum in Ecuador. The anti-secrecy website had earlier said it helped Snowden find "political asylum in a democratic country".

Ecuador has given political asylum to the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, who has spent more than a year holed up at Ecuador's embassy in London.

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa has said Assange is right to fear he might be sent from Sweden, where he is accused of sexual assault, to the United States to face charges over WikiLeaks' publication in 2010 of secret U.S. cables.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia in Quito and Kevin Liffey in London; writing by Daniel Wallis; editing by Jackie Frank)

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