Nicaragua released details of Edward Snowden’s asylum request late Saturday, releasing the letter he wrote in full to media outlets, Mail & Guardian reports.
“I, Edward Snowden, citizen of the United States, am writing to seek asylum in the Republic of Nicaragua because of the risk of being persecuted by the government of the United States and its agents,” reads the letter, written in Moscow on June 30.
“As a result of my political opinions, and my desire to exercise my freedom of speech, through which I’ve shown that the government of the United States is intercepting the majority of communications in the world,” Snowden writes, ” … [the U.S.] has publicly announced a criminal investigation against me.”
The 30-year-old former contractor for the NSA has been on the run since last month, after releasing top-secret documents detailing a massive spying apparatus that collects telephone and email records, in addition to spying on U.S. allies. He’s currently holed up in a transit area of the Moscow airport.
Snowden goes on to make the case for admission into the country, writing that members of Congress and media figures have “accused me of being a traitor and have called for me to be jailed or executed.”
He also mentions the international precedent of the Ecuadorean embassy sheltering Julian Assange to bolster his case, and writes that his circumstances are similar to Bradley Manning — the American soldier currently on trial for leaking secret information about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to WikiLeaks.
“Manning was submitted to cruel and inhumane acts by [the U.S.],” Snowden writes, who went on to say that it was unlikely he would receive a fair trial or “proper treatment prior to that trial.”
Snowden has submitted asylum applications to more than 25 countries. Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said on Friday that he was willing to grant him asylum if “circumstances permit.”
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