MOSCOW, July 8 (RIA Novosti) – Nicaragua’s embassy in Moscow has received an official asylum request from fugitive former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, an embassy spokesperson confirmed to RIA Novosti on Monday.
A Nicaraguan radio station on July 6 published what it claims is Snowden’s asylum request, although Nicaraguan officials have not publicly confirmed that the document is real.
Snowden, who is wanted by the US for leaking details of secret state surveillance programs, has submitted more than 20 requests for asylum.
Most have been rejected or countries have told Snowden that he would have to file the application while on their soil.
On Friday, Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega was reported as saying that, “if circumstances permit,” his country would “receive Snowden with pleasure.”
Venezuela and Bolivia have also said that they are willing to grant him asylum.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said on July 6 that he expected to hear confirmation from the fugitive intelligence expert on Monday that he intends to seek asylum in Venezuela.
An influential Russian parliament member, Alexei Pushkov, who heads the international affairs committee in Russia's parliament, on Sunday encouraged Snowden to accept Venezuela’s offer.
“Venezuela is waiting for Snowden’s reply. This could be his last chance to get political asylum,” Pushkov posted on Twitter.
“Otherwise he’ll have to marry Anna Chapman,” the tweet continued, referring to the Russian spy expelled from the United States in 2010, who proposed marriage to Snowden via Twitter on July 3.
Snowden is thought to have arrived in Russia on a Hong Kong – Moscow flight on June 23. The United States has revoked his passport, and he is now believed to be holed up in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport ever since.
Russia was one of the countries to which Snowden initially submitted an asylum application, but he withdrew it after President Vladimir Putin said on July 1 that Snowden would only be able to stay if he “stopped his work aimed at harming our US partners.”