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U.S. has no right to demand Snowden's arrest in Russia: official


20:16, June 24, 2013

MOSCOW, June 24 (Xinhua) -- The United States has no right to demand Russia arrest and extradite fugitive intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, a Russian official said Monday.

"The Americans can't demand anything. We can extradite him, or we can refuse to do that," Russian human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin told the Interfax news agency.

Meanwhile, the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor has not committed any crime in Russia, nor have Russian authorities received any instructions from the International Criminal Police Organization on arrest, he added.

"Thus we have no grounds for his detention," Lukin said.

Snowden, who disclosed information on top-secret surveillance programs that collect vast amounts of phone records and online data in the name of foreign intelligence, arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong on Sunday.

He was expected to depart on Flight SU150 to Cuba at 14:05 p.m. (1005 GMT) Monday from Terminal D of Sheremetyevo international airport.

However, an Associated Press journalist said on Twitter that he was standing next to Snowden's seat on flight SU150, but the admitted leaker was not there.

Moreover, a journalist from The Guardian also said that check-in for Flight SU150 had ended and that an Aeroflot employee verified that Snowden, also a former CIA technician, was not on board.

Interfax, citing a Russian security source, also reported that Snowden was not on board Monday's Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Havana.

Xinhua reporters saw cars from the Ecuadorian embassy in Moscow parked at Sheremetyevo. Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino Aroca said late Sunday on his Twitter account that his government had received an asylum request from Snowden.

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