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Home NATIONALPutin denies Snowden’s extradition to US
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Wed, 26 Jun, 2013 12:02:17 AM
FTimes-STT Report, June 26

The Russian president Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said Russia cannot hand over whistleblower Edward Snowden to the United States as his country has no extradition treaty with the US.

Replying to a query at a press conference during his visit to Finland, Putin reveled that the National Security Agency whistleblower was staying at the transit hall in Moscow airport. He also insisted that Russian security services had no contact with Snowden.

"Mr. Snowden really did fly into Moscow. For us it was completely unexpected," he claimed.

File picture: A woman walks past a banner displayed in support of former US spy Edward Snowden in Hong Kong on June 18, 2013. The 29-year-old former contractor for the National Security Agency dismissed allegations he was a traitor or a Chinese agent, and insisted he had exposed a dangerous US global surveillance network that threatens the privacy of millions. Photo - AFP / Lehtikuva.
The White House on Tuesday said Russia had a "clear legal basis" to expel Snowden, which National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said was the status of his travel documents – the US has revoked his passport – and the pending espionage charges against him.

"Accordingly, we are asking the Russian government to take action to expel Mr. Snowden without delay and to build upon the strong law enforcement cooperation we have had, particularly since the Boston Marathon bombing," she said.

Snowden fled Hong Kong on Sunday to travel via Moscow to an undisclosed third country, according to WikiLeaks, which said it helped his travel. He has requested political asylum from Ecuador.

Putin said Snowden remained in Sheremetyevo's transit hall.

‘Russia handover foreign nationals to only those countries that have extradition treaty with Russia,’ said Putin, adding that Snowden needed not to have any Russian Visa and Russian security services did not provide him with any assistance as he is a transit passenger.

Terming the NSA whistleblower as a free man in Russia until he chooses for a better final destination, Putin said that Snowden did not commit any crime in Russia.

The visiting president, however, hoped the Snowden issue would not put any negative impact on the relations between Russia and US as his arrival at the airport was unexpected.

Earlier, Russia and China straightway rejected USA’s allegations that the countries were helping Snowden. The US accused that China allowed the whistleblower to leave Hong Kong.

Snowden was expected to fly for Venezuelan, but he was in the Moscow airport till Tuesday.

The Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange already expressed his support to Snowden and assured to help him. Assange already got asylum by the Ecuador government and staying inside the Ecuador mission in London to avoid arrest as the London police announced to arrest him, if he comes outside of the embassy.



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