Edward Snowden Press Conference In Moscow Airport. Full Transcript (Including Q&A Settion)


Edward Snowden Press Conference In Moscow Airport. Full Transcript (Including Q&A Settion)

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Q. I’m not sure if I understood it roughly, are you requesting safety guarantees for a temporary stay in Russia so that you are able to travel to Latin America, or you’re rather asking for asylum here in this country?

First of all can you… it’s very really difficult to hear, maybe you also want to translate for who don’t speak English. Could you just also let us know your name and where you are from…?

Q. Human Rights Wire sharing Moscow.

and I’m just wondering if the studio granted…Did I hear you right that you are allowed to have security for a temporary stay here or… (inaudible)

A.I believe that the legal means to stay in Russia safely, to attempt to move to latin America is to request asylum in the Russian federation.

Sorry, there is no photos. Asking you lady there.

Henry Lesney (from Moscow Helsinki Group), an lawyer.

Q. Do you realise that if you get asylum in Russia and then you cross the boarder of Russia, you lose the right to stay here as an asylee?

A. I’m not sure I understand that legal point, um, I’d be happy to learn more about it. But I believe that all states have this sovereign right to grant asylum, and the grant of one state’s asylum does not conflict with the grant of another state.

Q. It’s impossible to ask for an asylum in several countries at the same time. You can get an asylum only in one country at one time.

(Translator; He is a member of the public chamber and a lawyer.)

The thing is that basically you do not exactly know the Russian legislature so probably you need a sort of legal assistance in this affair. If you get an asylum in Russia for instance, it will take you five years to acquire citizenship. So basically there are legal details that you might not be aware of. And that is an important issue, because we are ready to organise — we can provide you (give you ) the legal details of this issue. Because if you would ask for the asylum in two countries at the same time, it’s impossible from that they would provided it to you. So you have to ask an asylum in one country at a time.

A. To qualify that point, we’ve seen offers for an asylum from multiple countries, for example in Latin America, in accordance with the Caucas convention of Venezuela, l ready with Bolivia and Venezuela. And president Putin has previously said that he would be open to a granted asylum. So legal issues that I agree are important, and need to be worked out. This is an expression of intent, but the key for everyone here to remember is that my ability to travel has been illegally limited. So my opportunities to seek and enjoy asylum through all legal means, have been curtailed.

Q. You cannot get on an aircraft, before you got the status of an asylee.

A. We understand. And that’s something that we are working at.

Q. Do you want to ask for a political asylum here in Russia?

A. I do intend to ask for a political asylum in Russia yes.

A.Y,yeah. So to reiterate, I can only, at this time, formally accept, ah, I suppose legally accept asylum in Russia because of the limitations of my abilities to travel. Your question, please.

Q. I’m —(?) from Russian (inaudible)Newmans(?). I’m an expert on edudation. I’m probably invited here because I’m an American specialist —- on the republic.

A. OK.

Q. So my question will be a lot educational and political. Education just — . What is your political affiliation?

A. I’m an independent, and I’m not affiliated with any US political party.

Q. Are you socialist or what so ever?

A.I believe that all people share common rights, their universal values that cross all parties. If anything my political leanings could be described as liberarian.

Q. Did you vote for them?

A. (laugh) I did.

Q. for?

A. I can’t describe that.Slightly off topic.

Q. Is Russia your prefered destination though you have some other places to go?

A. If I could express any preference, I could consider that question, but based on the actions of the United States, I can’t express any preference.

Q. I have also promised to ask a question of channel 1. How you like Russia so far?

A. Russia is very safe.

Q. Russian guy Human Rights Commission from ambassador to United States.

What I wanted to ask you was as you can see the asylum in several countries.

You’ll be granted an asylum in Russia and Venezuela but in other countries …The problem is how you get to those countries get to Russia is quite clear right now?

A. Yeah.Do you know if there is a number of other international organisations that give you a pass or a passport to move on to travel? So those are the international Red Cross Committee, there is also UNHCR and some other organisations. They can give you a pass and also supplies the documents.

Cuz that is up to them to decide though your case is not so simple, but I would request to think about them and maybe you can write to these organisations. So they would engage in this work and maybe they will provide you with the documents for the passage.

And that is gonna allow you to solve the problem of the security and the safety. Because we believe that the United Nation’s documents would ……(Snowden: “I Need to write that.”) they believe that would prevent some …(yeah)

A. So if I could comment on that, there are few difficulties there. One is that I’m already recognised as an asylum seeker by UNHCR. I began the process in Hong Kong. And as we saw with the President Evo Morales’s plane, the US does not recognise the protection of the UNHCR when it comes to a political prosecution.

Additionally, the Secretary General of United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has made statements stating that he basically thinks what I have done is a disservice. It’s misuse what exists. Therefore he’s biasing the processes of UNHCR. Beyond this, most international humanitarian organisations require you to come to them, they don’t have offices in Sheremetyevo airport. These are the difficulties we faced.

Q. How did you find out that your passport has been cancelled and you do not have citizenship anymore.

A. Everything that I’ve learnt regarding my passport and my travel status recognised by the

United States has been through the media. The same as everyone else.

Q. They didn’t send you a wire or they didn’t give you some official information which …

A. No. I received NO official information from the United States government directly regarding the actions they’ve taken against me.

Q. Why do you think you’re being prosecuted by the United States —-briefly?

A. It’s about setting an example for those that speak out against the interests and political directives of the United States government. They want to discourage people from speaking truthfully, if it is against their interests. It’s a clearly political prosecution.

Translator. One more question. Could you be the first…?

Q. When I was on my way here to this airport, actually I’ve got a third phone from the US embassy, the ambassador Mr. McFaul wants you to meet to pass on to you that the United States do not consider you to be a whistle blower or a human right defender and they do believe that you should be punished by break the law. Not that I wanna be there as an official mesangenger, but I presume that I should first tell you about that phone call though it took me by surprise. Let me say that … (inaudible)

In any case, you are officially requesting an asylum here in Russia, right?

A. That is the intention.

Q. So what would you like the person’s present to do for you at this point of time? What would you like all these organisations to do to address the Russian government for you to help?

A. Yes, I think it is appropriate for everyone to act in the capacities of their organisation and their interests if they believe this is right and proper to support it in anyway they can. But I want to make one clear point, you mentioned that the US position regarding my whistle blower status, our polling show that 55% of Americans disagree with them. And based on that, that means foreign governments are representing American citizens better than the American government is. That’s the state of American government today.

Translator: (Just a few seconds, the thing is we should roll up the routine and also there was a person taking pictures so maybe you can tell them do not take photos. )

One more question.

Snowden: Hang on.

One more point I want to make on that last thing as far as requesting assistance, I would also ask the organisations to petition the US and European governments to ask for and demand the right to seek and enjoy asylum that the US has a signatory to it under the universal declaration on human rights. They need to explain why they’re interfering with everyone’s asylum right. And sir, I have interrupt, to ask your question will be the last question please.

Q. — I might have to ask you the service because of my profession

do you have anything to complain about or anything that you need here, something about your stay and…?

A. My number one request would be that I have some kind of legal status to travel and perhaps stay in Russia while this situation involving the breach of my rights is resolved. As it says now to my stay I have no complaints. I feel safe and comfortable, the airport’s fine by me and I’ve been in much more dangerous places.

I’m sorry ma’m did I get your …

Q. president Putin they say the status condition that you should stop- clearing out a-

A. That’s, let me go to address that, that’s very easy for me to agree to, for 2 reasons. One, everything that I’ve done has been in the past, at the journalists, I can’t control them, you know what they do is not me I can’t be help responsible for that. And additionally, no action that I’ve taken, nor any actions I plan to take are intended to hurt the US. I wanna see the US succeed.

OK last one, last one.

Translator:two short questions

Q. That is the organisation resistance. Olga Kostina. 2 brief questions.

So beside the petitions that you asked us to apply to the Russian government with report for your asylum seeking.

A. Please, Yes.

Q. One more brief question. Now I understand quite well why you’ve chosen Moscow and this airport security the top diffence

Do you understand and realize and how many people are there outside the airport right now asking to take a picture of you so that they could know that you’re fine to be treated by…so they just want to take one picture with you …Consider this possibility. Because they want to know that you’re safe and sound.

A. The issues with the pictures, we can provide the picture. Obviously we have a number of experts here… who can confirm that I’m fine. I’m happy, I have no issues. The issue is the more photographed I am, understanding the level of technical capability that the US services have, the more dangerous my situation becomes.

Q.—- They can believe that you do not exist —maybe somehow to dilslusions that, one more question

where and how Ban Ki Moon has the statement because we do not have unfortunately and because we do not have what source you used…

A. Ban Ki Moon said this in private meeting in Iceland. I believe he is briefing members of the Iceland parliment. You can request details from Birgitta Jonsdottir she is an Icelandic member of parliament.

Statements from Birgitta are not official statement, not yet Ban Ki Moon, official…Yet we want to ask official questions. Where is this possible to get the document to tickle with…

A. We’ll get our possibilities. I think that’s it for the questions. Thank you.

Translator: If you need any legal advice, I can give you my email so that you can get contact with me and I would assist.

If you don’t mind the content…(inaudible)

( Yumi Onodera & Takanori Eto. Photo from