* Applies for asylum in more than a dozen countries
* In legal limbo in Moscow airport
* Some countries immediately reject idea
* Some would consider if Snowden can reach their soil
(Adds reports that Maduro leaves without Snowden, Bolivia
By Alissa de Carbonnel and Alexei Anishchuk
MOSCOW, July 2 (Reuters) - Countries in Latin America, Asia
and Europe spurned asylum requests by Edward Snowden on Tuesday,
despite a call by Venezuela for the world to protect the former
U.S. spy agency contractor wanted by Washington for espionage.
Snowden, who revealed secret U.S. electronic surveillance
programmes, has applied for political asylum in more than a
dozen countries in his search for safety from prosecution in the
The 30-year-old American is in legal limbo in the transit
area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, unable to fly out because
he has no legal travel documents and also has no Russian visa to
leave the airport.
On Monday, he broke over a week-long silence since arriving
in Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23, challenging Washington by
saying he was free to publish more about its programmes and that
he was being illegally persecuted.
That ruled out a prolonged stay in Russia, where a spokesman
for President Vladimir Putin said Snowden had withdrawn his
request for asylum after the Russian leader said he should stop
"harming our American partners."
Five countries have rejected granting him asylum, seven said
they would consider a request if made on their soil, and eight
said they had either not made a decision or not received a
While country after country denied his asylum requests on
technical grounds, Venezuela, part of an alliance of leftist
governments in Latin America, said it was time to stop berating
a man who has "done something very important for humanity".
"He deserves the world's protection," President Nicolas
Maduro told Reuters during a visit to Moscow for a meeting of
gas exporting countries.
"He has a right to protection because the United States in
its actions is persecuting him ... Why are they persecuting him?
What has he done? Did he launch a missile and kill someone? Did
he rig a bomb and kill someone? No. He is preventing war."
Maduro said he would consider an asylum application. He
later had talks with Putin but neither leader said whether they
had discussed Snowden. However, Russian news agencies Interfax
and RIA reported on Tuesday night that the Venezuelan president
was leaving Moscow for Belarus without Snowden.
The American's request for safety in Ecuador, which has
sheltered the founder of anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks Julian
Assange in its London embassy, no longer looks promising.
Bolivia has said it would consider an asylum request but
Vice President Alvaro Garcia said Tuesday that none had been
received. Nicaragua too said it had not received one.
U.S. President Barack Obama has made clear to a number of
countries that granting him asylum would carry costs.
Snowden has prepared asylum requests in countries including
India, China, Brazil, Ireland, Austria, Bolivia, Cuba, Finland,
France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway,
Poland, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela, WikiLeaks has said.
But several countries, including Snowden's favoured Ecuador,
said on Tuesday they could not consider an asylum request from
Snowden unless he was on their territory.
Norway said he was unlikely to get asylum there, Brazil
ruled out even answering his request and Poland said it would
not give a "positive recommendation" to any application.
Finland, Spain, Ireland and Austria said he had to be in
their countries to make a request, while India said "we see no
reason" to accept his petition. France said it had not received
a request and China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said she had
no information on Snowden's asylum request.
Officials in Russia, which has made clear it wants Snowden
to leave, say an embassy car would be considered foreign
territory if a country picked him up.
Snowden's options have narrowed sharply.
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa has said giving Snowden a
temporary travel pass to fly to Moscow was "a mistake on our
Moscow is unwilling to send Snowden to the United States, a
move that could make it look weak, and it has no extradition
treaty with Washington. But it also does not want to damage ties
with the United States over a man for whom Putin, a former KGB
spy, has little sympathy.
At a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in
Brunei, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he had raised
Snowden "from our point of view" despite the affair not being in
"Russia has never extradited anyone, is not extraditing
anyone and will not extradite anyone," Putin's spokesman, Dmitry
Peskov, told reporters.
Peskov said Snowden showed no sign of stopping releasing
secret U.S. documents and added that he had abandoned his
intention of staying in Russia.
In an undated letter to Ecuador's Correa seen by Reuters,
Snowden said he was "dedicated to the fight for justice in this
unequal world". "I remain free and able to publish information
that serves the public interest," Snowden said in the letter.
(Additonal reporting by Lesley Wroughton in Brunei; Daniel
Ramos in La Paz, Ivan Castro in La Paz; Writing by Elizabeth
Piper, Timothy Heritage, Doina Chiacu; Editing by Jon Boyle and
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