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Press Release: Courage letters being delivered to governments call for the safe protection of Edward Snowden

  • Parliamentarians to hand letters to US, German and UK governments asking for Edward Snowden’s protection
  • Letter addressed to President Putin asks Russia to re-grant Edward Snowden asylum
  • Amnesty joins the call for Edward Snowden to be able to seek asylum in a country of his choice

This week, letters will be handed to the governments of the UK, US and Germany calling on them to protect NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and allow him the right to asylum. Edward Snowden’s legal status is once again that of an asylum-seeker with temporary leave to remain in Russia, pending the result of an asylum application made this month, after his initial one year of temporary asylum ended.

Courage – the organisation that has been running Snowden’s official defence fund for the past year – sets out in the letters significant revelations from Edward Snowden, the persecution he faces and the reasons he should be protected. The letters are being handed out by elected representatives (Senator Ron Wyden in the US, Hans Christian Ströbele MP in Germany and Caroline Lucas MP in the UK) that they were hand-delivered to on Friday.

As Mr Snowden is currently without assured asylum, Courage’s letters encourage support for his safe protection and for his asylum application to be granted by Russia, without blockage from foreign governments. In addition, Courage has delivered a letter to the Russian embassy in Washington, DC, asking President Putin to grant Snowden’s renewed asylum application.

On Friday, Amnesty International called on governments around the world to “facilitate [Mr Snowden’s] travel and process any asylum application he should file”, a call reiterated by the representatives delivering Courage’s letters.

In the US, the letter being delivered calls on the US to drop “the Espionage Act charges against him and to formally acknowledge his invaluable contributions to Americans’ understanding of their government” as doing so “would both save Edward Snowden from persecution but also show future Snowdens that exposing wrongdoing is conscientious and appreciated.”

In Germany, where public reaction to the revelations has been one of the strongest worldwide, prompting a Parliamentary inquiry, the letter Member of Parliament Hans-Christian Ströbele will deliver asks the German government to not only support asylum for Snowden, but “to afford safe passage to speak to the ongoing Bundestag inquiry, and to encourage other countries to take similar measures.” Ströbele, a member of the Parliamentary Control Council that oversees Germany’s intelligence servces, said:

I hope this initiative will help us to bring Snowden to Germany as a witness in our committee but also, and this is more important, to give him in Germany a better, normal and free life.

In a press release, Ströbele said he would be passing on the letter to Germany’s federal government.

Caroline Lucas MP, who will deliver Courage’s letter in the UK, said on Friday at her constituency office in Brighton:

Edward Snowden has been criminalised for demonstrating the courage of his convictions.

I urge the Government to offer Mr Snowden the safe haven he deserves. To do otherwise is to perpetuate his unjustified persecution.

His leaks raised fundamental questions regarding the balance between security and privacy. I, and many others, believe we have that balance wrong. It is crucial we are able to hold our government to account – and that national security laws are not illegitimately used in order to undermine freedom of speech in the public interest.

Courage’s letter delivered to the Russian embassy in Washington, DC, asks President Putin to grant Edward Snowden permanent asylum status:

Looking favorably on Mr Snowden’s new application would show that the Russian government respects the right to asylum. It would send a strong signal about the need for decisive action to defend european privacy and associational rights from interference by other states. We ask that the Russian government do whatever is in its power to ensure that Edward Snowden remain safe in the face of real and significant threats.

Full text of the letters is available (US, UK, Germany [English translation], Russia).