Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s president, has said his country will take a “sovereign decision” to consider US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden’s request for asylum, but added that his fate is not in the hands of Ecuadorians.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Correa said Ecuador could not take any steps because Snowden was not on Ecuadorian soil and had not approached an Ecuadorian embassy.
The former National Security Agency freelance analyst is believed to be in Moscow’s international airport and is wanted by the US for leaking confidential information about a surveillance programme called PRISM.
Snowden, who travelled to Moscow from Hong Kong, has since had his passport revoked by the US government.
Correa added that the Ecuadorian ambassador in Russia had met Snowden but there had been no further contact with him.
Asked about the treatment of asylum given to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Correa said that the difference with Assange was that he made it to the Ecuadorian embassy.
Correa said that any decision to be made with respect to Snowden would be based on US and international laws.
He said that Snowden had been seeking asylum in countries such as Russia, China and Ecuador, which contradicts certain US senators’ views that these countries restricts and monitors freedom of expression.
“Rest assured, we don’t spy on anyone, unless it is organised crime,” Correa said. “We don’t accept anybody doing it.”