Venezuela offers Snowden asylum

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro offered asylum to former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden in defiance of Washington, which is demanding his arrest for divulging details of secret US spy programmes.

Mr Snowden, 30, is believed to be holed up in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo international airport and has been trying to find a country that would take him since he landed from Hong Kong on June 23.
“In the name of America’s dignity ... I have decided to offer humanitarian asylum to Edward Snowden,” Mr Maduro told a military parade marking Venezu-ela’s independence day.
“He is a young man who has told the truth, in the spirit of rebellion, about the United States spying on the whole world.”
Russia has kept the former National Security Agency contractor at arm’s length, saying the transit area where passengers stay between flights is neutral territory and he will be on Russian soil only if he goes through passport control.
It was not immediately clear how Mr Snowden would react to Mr Maduro’s offer, nor reach Venezuela if he accepted.
Meanwhile, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales said he would grant asylum to Snowden, if the fugitive US leaker req-uests it. President Daniel Ortega said he would gladly give Snowden asylum in Nicaragua “if circumstances permit”.

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