Edward Snowden Press Conference in Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport Transit Area


Edward Snowden Press Conference in Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport Transit Area

Mr. Snowden will give a short statement,and then you may ask questions. If I ask when you ask your questions, you can tell us your name, and the organisation that you are coming from.

Mr. Snowden

First of all, thank you all for coming. Hello, my name is Edward Snowden. A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise, and I lived in great comfort. I also had a capability, without any worry of war, to search for, seize, and read your comunications. Anyone’s comunications, at any time. That is the power to change people’s fates. It is also a serious violation of the law. The fourth and fifth amendments to the constitution of my country, the article 12 of universal declaration of human rights, and numerous statutes and treaties forbid such systems of massive pervasive surveillance.While the US Constitution marks these programs as illegal, my government argues that secret court…(笑 アナウンスが流れて I heard this many times over the last number of weeks…) my government argues that secret court rulings which the world is not permitted to see somehow legitimizes an illegal affair. These rulings corrupt the most basic notion of justice, that it must be seen to be done. The immoral cannot be made moral through the use of secret law. I believe in the principles accorded in Nuremberg in 1945, individuals have international duties, which transcend national obligation of obedience. Therefore, individual citizens have duties to violate domestic laws, to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occuring. Accordingly, I did what I believe was right, and began the campaign to address what I witnessed. I did not seek to enrich myself. I did not seek to sell US secrets. I did not partner to any foreign government to guarantee my safety. Instead, I took what I knew to the public. So what affects all of us could be discussed by all of us in the light of day. And I ask the world for justice. That moral decision to tell the public about spying that affects all of us has been costly. But it was the right thing to do and I have no regrets. Since that time, the government and intelligence services of the United States of America, have attempted to make an example of me. A warning to all others who might speak out as I have.

I have been made stateless, and hounded for my act of political expression. The United States government has poised me on no-fly lists. It demanded Hong Kong return me outside of the framework of its laws, in direct violation of the principle of non-refoulement, the law of nations. It has threatened with sanctions, countries who would stand up for my human rights and the UN asylum system. It has even taken the unprecedented step at ordering military allies to ground a Latin American president’s plane in search for a political refugee. These dangerous escalations represent the threat not just to the dignity of Latin America but to the basic rights showed by every person, every nation, to make free from prosecution and to seek and enjoy asylum. Yet even in the face of this historically disproportionate agression, countries around the world have offered support and asylum. These nations, including Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador, have my gratitude and respect for being first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful, rather than the powerless. By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of intimidation, they have earned the respect of a world. It is my intention to travel to each of these countries to extend my personal thanks to their people and their leaders. I announce today my formal acceptance of all offers of support or asylum I have been extended, and all others that may be offered in the future. With, for example, the grant of the asylum provided by Venezuela’s president Maduro, my asylee status is now formal and no state has a basis violate to limit or interfere with my right to enjoy that asylum. As we have seen, however, some governments in Western Europe and North America have demonstrated a willingness to act outside the law. And this behavior persists today. This unlawful threat makes it impossible for me to travel to Latin America, and enjoy the asylum granted there in accordance with our shared rights. This willingness by powerful states to act extralegally represents a threat to all of us and must not be allowed to succeed. Accordingly, I ask for your assistance in requesting guarantees of safe passage from the relevant nations in securing my travel to Latin America, as well as requesting an asylum in Russia until such time as the states accede to law and my legal travel is admitted. I’ll be submitting my request to Russia today, and hope it will be accepted favorably. If you have any questions, I will answer what I can. Thank you.


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 (放送で聞き取れない) 

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 other states.

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. (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 sphere. 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, cuz we are ready to organise — we can provide you (give you ) the legal details of this issue. Because if you would ask for the assylam 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 Caracas convention of Venezuela. Already with Bolivia and Venesuela. 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 illegaly 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 assylee.

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. 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.


Q. I’m —(?) from Russian Newmans(?). I’m an expert on application. 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.

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

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 promissed to ask a question of channel 1. How you like Russia so far?

A. Russia is very safe.

Russian guy Human Rights Commission 24:30

Q. 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?


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 26:15 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.

Q. 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 to break the law. Not that I wanna be there as an official meesagenger, but I presume that I should first tell you about that phone call though it took me by surprise. Let me say that … (放送で聞き取れない)

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 mention 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.

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 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 confortable, 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-(放送で聞き取れない)–

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.

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 dillusion that

one more question

where and how

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 parlament. You can request details from Birgitta Jonsdottir she is an Icelandic member of parliament.

Q. Where is this possible to get the document —

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

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