Two cars of the embassy of Ecuador in Moscow are parked outside the terminal where Edward Snowden, the former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency, is believed to have landed in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, June 23, 2013. (Reuters / Maxim Shemetov)
The plane carrying whistleblower Edward Snowden has landed at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. The former CIA contractor, who left Hong Kong in a bid to elude US extradition on espionage charges, is on his way to a ‘third country’ via Russia.
Earlier on Sunday, a spokesperson from the Hong Kong government confirmed that Edward Snowden had “legally and voluntarily” left the country.
“Mr. Edward Snowden left Hong Kong today (June 23) on his own accord for a third country through a lawful and normal channel,” said the Hong Kong government in a press release. The statement also said the documents for Snowden’s extradition submitted by Washington “did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law.”
“As the HKSAR Government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for a provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr. Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.”
WikiLeaks legal aid
Whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks has rallied behind Snowden and said they are assisting him in his bid for political asylum in a “democratic country.” The group announced on Twitter that they helped obtain “travel documents” and ensured his safe exit from Hong Kong. Diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks legal team were also accompanying the NSA leaker on his flight to Moscow, WikiLeaks said in a statement.