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Press Release: Americans, Brits and Germans want their governments to protect Edward Snowden

6:30pm GMT

  • As Edward Snowden’s year of temporary asylum in Russia expires, German, UK, US and Russian governments are asked to take action
  • US will be asked to drop its charges against Snowden
  • Supporters across 39 countries have joined the call from Snowden’s defence fund, Courage, for Snowden’s asylum and protection
  • Germany, UK and US supporters lead Courage’s ‘Stand With Snowden’ campaign, calling for Snowden’s continued protection

Today, on the final day of Edward Snowden’s year of temporary asylum in Russia, members of Courage, the organisation that has run his official defence fund for the past year, write to those governments where support for Snowden has been greatest. Since June this year, Courage has been running a campaign asking members of the public to submit photos showing they “Stand With Snowden.” As his asylum ends, Courage asks the governments of countries where the support was greatest to “ask them to respond to this call.”

Today it was announced that Edward Snowden has applied for permanent political asylum in Russia, a year after he was awarded temporary asylum by the Russian Federation after one month stranded in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, following a decision by the US State Department to announce the cancellation of his passport. As his temporary asylum expires today, he is formally an asylum-seeker once again. It is therefore paramount at this critical time that governments around the world respond to their citizens’ wishes and help protect Edward Snowden. Courage will also be writing to President Putin to encourage Russia to renew Mr Snowden’s asylum.

Over the last year, Edward Snowden has been able to actively participate in the debate he began. Thanks to the protection Russia has afforded him, he has been able to lead a relatively normal life in that country. In the letters to be delivered tomorrow, Courage sets out for each government the impact and importance of Snowden’s revelations. Courage asks that governments around the world support his courageous action in showing how their citizens’ rights were being violated by the NSA and GCHQ, and to support his legal right to asylum to allow his continued participation in the debate on mass surveillance. Courage will also ask the United States to drop its charges against Snowden.

Tomorrow, 1st August, Courage will deliver letters calling for Edward Snowden’s protection to elected representatives in Germany, Britain, the US and to Russia. In the UK and Germany, Members of Parliament Hans-Christian Ströbele and Caroline Lucas will be accepting these letters. Letters will also be delivered to US Senator Ron Wyden and the Russian Government. Please follow @CourageFound and this page for updates on the deliveries.

Sarah Harrison, Acting Director of Courage said:

Whilst it is heartening to see so many members of the public standing up in support of Snowden, most governments around the world, with the exclusion of Russia a year ago, have done little to protect this legal asylum-seeker. As we reach the time of his asylum renewal, I hope that more governments will have the courage and conscience to do what their own citizens tell them is right. Snowden faces decades in prison in the US, due to Obama’s war on whistleblowers. Last year military whistleblower Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Earlier this week Amnesty called on President Obama to grant Manning’s immediate release. The United States’ political persecution of whistleblowers must stop. Governments around the world should not allow for another Manning: protect Snowden whilst he’s still free.

Although letters are being delivered tomorrow, Courage will keep its Stand With Snowden campaign page open to allow the public around the world to continue to show their support. So far, photos have been submitted from 39 countries around the world, with support mapped from as far afield as Brazil, India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Japan and Egypt. The diverse spread of photos demonstrates how Edward Snowden’s revelations resonate with people around the world.

cape town stands with

Courage originally began in August 2013 as The Journalistic Source Protection Defence Fund and has run Edward Snowden’s defence fund since that time. Courage’s official Edward Snowden support site is located at https://edwardsnowden.com and the related twitter account at @CourageSnowden.

In addition to running the official defence fund for Edward Snowden and preparing to do the same for others in the future who risk life or liberty to make significant contributions to the historical record, Courage advocates for the protection of journalists’ sources and the public’s right to receive their information as guaranteed in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Read more about donating to Courage, its funding and its mission at https://couragefound.org