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14.09.2019 Europe

Edward Snowden wants asylum in France

By RFI
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SEP 14, 2019 EUROPE

Whistleblower Edward Snowden wants to claim asylum in France, according to an interview published on Saturday. The former US intelligence contractor has been in Russia since leaking a trove of classified documents showing the scope of post-9/11 US surveillance. 

Snowden had already applied for French asylum in 2013 under former president Francois Hollande. He told France Inter radio that he hoped President Emmanuel Macron would grant his request.

"The saddest thing of this whole story is that the only place an American whistle-blower has the chance to be heard is not in Europe but here in Russia," Snowden said in a trailer of the interview which will be broadcast in its entirety on Monday.

To date, more than a dozen countries have turned down requests to take in the 36-year-old, leading him to question their reasoning and "the system we live in".

"Protecting whistle-blowers is not a hostile act," he said.

Snowden's memoirs are to be published on Tuesday in some 20 countries.

Snowden once worked for the CIA in addition to the National Security Agency but has been living in Russia since his 2013 leaking of thousands of documents.

The United States accuses him of endangering national security. Espionage charges could send him to prison for decades.

In a video on his Twitter account, Snowden said last week that "everything that we do now lasts forever, not because we want to remember but because we're no longer allowed to forget.

"Helping to create that system is my greatest regret," he said.

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