Snowden Reportedly In 'Informal' Asylum Talks With Iceland | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Snowden Reportedly In 'Informal' Asylum Talks With Iceland

Edward Snowden, the man commonly called "the NSA leaker" for his role in publishing documents that exposed a secret U.S. surveillance program, would reportedly not receive special treatment from the United Nations if he applies for asylum. The AP says Snowden is in "informal talks" with Iceland about applying for asylum there.

Snowden's last known location was Hong Kong, where he was when revelations about the secret PRISM program first came out. At the time, Snowden told The Guardian, which published several stories based on the information he provided, that he would like "to seek asylum in a country with shared values." He named Iceland as a prime example.

But as Iceland's ambassador to China explained to the South China Morning Post, an applicant for asylum in Iceland must already be in the country. In an email to the newspaper, Ambassador Kristin Arnadottir also said that Iceland's Ministry of the Interior handles all asylum applications, reports the web site Ice News.

The Morning Post reports that U.N. official Nazneen Farooqi, of the High Commissioner for Refugees' office in Hong Kong, said they don't give special priority to certain cases.

"We prioritize older cases," she said at a press conference about World Refugee Day (which is today).

The newspaper says that means an application could take months or years to process. And it adds that Farooqi was speaking in hypothetical terms, as her office does not discuss — or affirm the existence of — specific asylum claims.

As The Two Way reported last week, Snowden isn't alone in feeling an affinity for Iceland. It has also served as a haven for WikiLeaks and U.S. expatriate Bobby Fischer, who died in Iceland in 2008.

Citing officials in Iceland, the AP says that a WikiLeaks spokesman "who claims to represent Edward Snowden has reached out to government officials in Iceland about the potential of the NSA leaker applying for asylum in the Nordic country."

The news agency says that WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson held informal talks with staff members working in the Interior Ministry and for the prime minister. According to Icelandic government official Johannes Skulason, WikiLeaks' Hrafnsson says he is in touch with Snowden and is exploring the asylum process.

We should note that in Fischer's case, the former chess champion was in legal limbo while in Japan, with the U.S. government wanting to speak with him about breaking a sanction against Yugoslavia. In that case, Iceland extended citizenship to Fischer outright, and Japan chose to send him to the country.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Ruth Rendell Dies, Pioneered The Psychological Thriller

The British mystery writer was known for her Inspector Wexford series and in her later years became active in Labour Party politics. NPR's Petra Mayer has this remembrance.
NPR

'Bourbon Empire' Reveals The Smoke And Mirrors Of American Whiskey

A new book suggests that tall tales on craft bourbon labels are the rule rather than the exception. They're just one example of a slew of "carefully cultivated myths" created by the bourbon industry.
NPR

Site Using Candidate Carly Fiorina's Name Attacks Her Record At HP

The site, carlyfiorina.org, says the Republican presidential candidate laid off 30,000 people while she ran Hewlett-Packard. Fiorina does not deny the figure but says, overall, the firm created jobs.
NPR

As Emoji Spread Beyond Texts, Many Remain [Confounded Face] [Interrobang]

There's a growing tendency to bring the tiny hieroglyphs off of phones, but not everyone is fluent. New takes on emoji integration suggest misunderstanding may be remedied with universal translation.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.