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Nicaraguan Embassy in Moscow receives Snowden's asylum request

July 8, 2013 at 4:17 PM

MOSCOW, July 8 (UPI) -- The Nicaraguan Embassy in Moscow received an official asylum request from former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, an embassy spokesman said Monday.

Snowden, who is wanted by the United States for leaking details of government surveillance programs, has submitted more than 20 requests for asylum, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported, most of which were rejected or returned with advice that the requests must be filed while Snowden is within the country in question.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said Friday his country would "receive Snowden with pleasure" if "circumstances permit," and Saturday a Nicaraguan radio station published what it claims is Snowden's asylum request, although officials in Nicaragua have not confirmed the legitimacy of the document.

Venezuela and Bolivia have offered Snowden asylum, RIA Novosti said.

Alexei Pushkov, who heads the international affairs committee of Russia's parliament, encouraged Snowden to accept Venezuela's offer, calling it "his last chance to get political asylum. Otherwise he'll have to marry Anna Chapman," a reference to a Russian spy expelled from the United States in 2010 who proposed marriage to Snowden via Twitter July 3.

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