Rasmussen rules out offering asylum to Snowden

Parliament unlikely to grant a home in Denmark to the American whistleblower Edward Snowden

The EU Parliament has adopted a non-binding resolution calling on member states to give Edward Snowden asylum.

And Alternativet and Enhedslisten have drafted a resolution encouraging a vote to give Snowden residence.

PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen begs to differ.

“I find it very hard to see what the basis would be for Parliament to create a separate law to take the extraordinary step of offering a US citizen political amnesty in Denmark,” Rasmussen said in response to a question from Alternativet leader Uffe Elbæk during Question Time today.

Rasmussen said there is no reason to assume that Snowden is a victim of political persecution by US authorities. “He is wanted for a series of offences, and the United States is a democratic state,” he said.

The whistleblower
Snowden is the IT technician behind the extensive revelations of America’s electronic monitoring of people and institutions in both the US and abroad. He previously worked for the US’s National Security Agency (NSA). He has been in Russia since his revelations of NSA secrets.

During Question Time, Elbæk asked Rasmussen whether he agreed that Snowden’s revelations have focused on illegal activities and thus helped to benefit the freedoms of ordinary people.

Rasmussen replied that the government’s lack of support for the asylum resolution had nothing to do with the debate Snowden has created and more to do with the question of whether Snowden has been politically persecuted and requires protection.

“It is about whether you have confidence that the US authorities can deal with it in a way that respects human rights and gives him a fair trial, and I was born with the assumption that it can,” said the PM.

Europe probably not an option
The US still wants Snowden extradited, so the recently adopted EU resolution most likely does not mean that he can count on asylum in Europe.

He has previously sought or inquired about the possibilities for asylum in 21 countries around the world: including the EU countries Austria, Finland, Germany, Spain and Italy.

READ MORE: S: No asylum for whistleblower Snowden

If sentenced to the charges against him, Snowden stands to serve 30 years in a US prison.