MOSCOW, June 12 (RIA Novosti) – Whistleblowing former CIA employee Edward Snowden who is holed up in Hong Kong said he will fight any US attempts to extradite him.
“My intention is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate. I have been given no reason to doubt your system,’’ Snowden said in an interview with the South China Morning Post.
Snowden, 29, who worked for US defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, hit the media spotlight last week after he leaked to press information about an extensive surveillance program by the US government, which allegedly monitored phone and electronic conversations of millions of Americans.
The whistleblower, who moved to Hong Kong from the United States before revealing secrets to media, said he has chosen the Chinese autonomous region because of his faith in its Western-style legal system.
“I have had many opportunities to flee HK, but I would rather stay and fight the United States government in the courts, because I have faith in Hong Kong’s rule of law,” he said.
Analysts believe any attempts to bring Snowden to the United States may take months and could be blocked by Beijing.
Snowden said he was aware of possible prosecution but disclosed secret documents in response to America’s systematic surveillance of innocent citizens. He earlier told The Washington Post that he was seeking “asylum from any countries that believe in free speech and oppose the victimization of global privacy.”
"I'm neither traitor nor hero. I'm an American," he said.
Russia’s authorities could consider political asylum for Snowden if he sends a proper request, business daily Kommersant said Tuesday, citing the Kremlin spokesman.