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Snowden's asylum request for Netherlands unlikely to be granted: experts


20:30, July 02, 2013

THE HAGUE, July 2 (Xinhua) --The current asylum application of American whistleblower Edward Snowden for the Netherlands in Moscow will not be granted because under Dutch law he should be in the Netherlands, declares Dutch asylum lawyer Maarten Berg to Xinhua Tuesday.

A statement by WikiLeaks, which supports him, released on Tuesday said that in addition to Ecuador and Iceland, Snowden had made a fresh batch of asylum requests to 19 countries, including the Netherlands. The requests have been delivered to the various embassies in Moscow.

Earlier today Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, professor at Leiden University and former Secretary General of NATO, told Dutch Radio 1 that even in the Netherlands Snowden would not have a chance.

He pointed out that he violated the American law and would not be considered as a political refugee. Therefore he would immediately be extradited to the United States, because the Netherlands has an extradition treaty with the America.

Asylum lawyer Berg advocates Snowden does have a chance if he manages to reach The Netherlands. "He could be regarded as a political refugee. That is defendable," he said to Xinhua. "In case of an ordinary offense, there is no reason for an asylum application, but there is certainly also a political component. Similar to an applicant of the Iranian opposition. What kind of treatment will he get in the United States of America?"

An asylum request at the Dutch Embassy in Moscow will in principle have no result, because the Netherlands has no embassy asylum anymore. However, a request at the embassy could help Snowden. "According to the rules that is not possible, but there could be an opening," says Berg. "The Netherlands could also invite him, although that is not likely."

Snowden is a U.S. former technical contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee who leaked details of top-secret U.S. and British government mass surveillance programs. He is wanted by the U.S., but left Hong Kong for Russia on June 23 after Washington sought his extradition on espionage charges. He stayed in Moscow airport's transit lounge since arriving in Russia.

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