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Venezuela to consider Snowden's asylum request: president


11:23, June 26, 2013

CARACAS, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday said he would consider an asylum request from the U.S. intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden if the country receives one.

"We have not received an official request. But in the event we were to receive one, we would evaluate it as we understand Ecuador is doing similarly," Maduro said.

Snowden, charged by the U.S. government with three felonies, including two under the Espionage Act, reportedly arrived in Moscow's Sheremetyevo international airport on June 23 after his departure from Hong Kong, China.

The intelligence leaker was expected to have taken an Aeroflot flight to Havana, Cuba on Monday, but was found not on board later.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Snowden was still in the transit area at the Sheremetyevo airport and was free to go anywhere he chose to.

Media reports differ on Snowden's whereabouts and his next possible destination.

Speculations soared when Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino Aroca said Monday that the Ecuadorian government had received an asylum request from Snowden and is "analyzing and considering the request."

Snowden, a former CIA agent, fled to Hong Kong last month and revealed a U.S. classified surveillance project code-named PRISM, which can trace worldwide emails and phone calls.

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