India Should Provide Refuge to NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden, Says Julian Assange

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By IBTimes Staff Reporter | June 13, 2013 7:09 PM EST

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has come out in support of US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden on seeking refuge in India.

Snowden, who had disclosed classified US surveillance programs last week, is presently said to be in Hong Kong.

Assange, who has been holed up in London's Ecuadorian Embassy since June 19, 2011, requested India to provide asylum to the Snowden, in a telephonic interview to The Times of India.

"It was because of Snowden that India came to know how US was snooping on them. It is an obligation for India to protect Snowden. India is a super power and does not have to fear other nations. Now is the time for India to show it stands up for human rights," said the WikiLeaks founder.

The interview revealed India's reluctant stand in providing asylum to Assange.

"I was disappointed and saddened that India, known for upholding human rights, never got back despite several requests by me for asylum. Indians are also great supporters of WikiLeaks. I therefore contacted the foreign office through the Indian high commissioner. I wrote to them but they never responded," he added.

The Australian, who is currently charged with several counts of 'sexual offence' in Sweden, praised the small South American nation saying, "Ecuadorians showed immense courage and granted me asylum."

In another report Assange told CNN's AC360, "I would strongly advise him (Snowden) to go to Latin America. Latin America has shown in the past 10 years that it is really pushing forward in human rights. There's a long tradition of asylum."

Snowden, who had released secret surveillance programs of US snooping into people's privacy by tracking their call records, e-mails and social profiles was thrown out of his high-end technical assistant job after the controversial leak.

His efforts to leak the information, which he believed were "an existential threat to democracy", were lauded by Assange as 'heroic'.

The 29-year-old was initially offered asylum by Russia. "If we receive such a request, we will consider it," Russian president's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a leading daily.

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