Snowden leaves Hong Kong for 'democratic nation': WikiLeaks

LONDON Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:41am EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden has left Hong Kong and is heading for an unnamed "democratic nation" via Moscow, WikiLeaks said on Sunday.

The anti-secrecy group said Snowden had asked it for "legal expertise and experience to secure his safety" after the United States sought his extradition to face charges relating to his unauthorized release of secret details about U.S. surveillance programs.

WikiLeaks said Snowden had left Hong Kong legally and was heading for an unnamed country, using a safe route "for the purposes of asylum".

He is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisers from WikiLeaks, the group said in a statement. He is due to land in Moscow later on Sunday, it added in an update on Twitter.

"The WikiLeaks legal team and I are interested in preserving Mr Snowden's rights and protecting him as a person," former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon, legal director of WikiLeaks and lawyer for the group's founder Julian Assange, said in a statement.

"What is being done to Mr Snowden and to Mr Julian Assange - for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest - is an assault against the people."

Assange, who has spent a year in Ecuador's London embassy resisting attempts by Sweden to pursue sexual assault allegations against him, was not immediately available for comment, his spokesman said.

He says he does not want to answer the allegations in person because he believes Sweden would hand him over to the U.S. authorities, who would try him for helping facilitate one of the largest information leaks in U.S. history.

(Reporting by Peter Griffiths; Editing by Alison Williams)

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Comments (2)
Junifer wrote:
As a victim of a prolonged harassment campaign the US Attorney’s office in Mpls alleged was orchestrated by the NSA and for the purpose of fulfilling a vendetta for a made-up wrong, I have to say that I am thrilled that the Wikileaks team has stepped up to protect and defend Mr. Snowden. Thank you, Communist Chinese and Russia, for facilitating his safe travel. The United States government has rotted from the inside out. This is evidenced by the irrefutable fact that the very agencies given the PRIVILEGE of defending and protecting the Constitution have chosen to wipe their feet and clean their as!@s with it. When caught, they lie. In order to gain access they lied. If psychological evaluations were done of all high-ranking officals involved in decisions related to spying I have no doubt that they would largely prove to have serious narcissistic personality disorders and that many would border on outright sociopathy. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Our “leaders” are not immune from that truth, they only want us to think they are. I have fought for a nearly a decade to have the files “sealed at the highest levels of Washington” on me opened. They would reveal that the NSA/FBI conducted illegal harassment of me and my family for reasons that had nothing to do with terrorism or criminality. This was done to destroy me and my family because one of their own, David Vincent Conway, destroyed his marriage and his family a decade before I knew him and when his wife left him for a man with whom she’d carried on a 6 + year affair, he needed someone else to blame. He’s sick. It was sick. And I am not the only person this sort of nonsense is perpetrated upon. God Bless you, Edward Snowden. God Bless Julian Assange and his legal team. And God Bless Bradley Manning – a political prisoner who dared to expose the fact that our government promotes and covers up for war crimes.

Jun 23, 2013 11:02am EDT  --  Report as abuse
PuraVidaTico wrote:
Good for Putin. Very good.

Jun 23, 2013 11:41am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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