Amnesty official in Russia plans to meet Snowden
MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian official of Amnesty International says he plans to meet with Edward Snowden, the leaker of U.S. National Security Agency secrets.
Sergei Nikitin, head of the rights organization's Russia office, told The Associated Press the meeting would take place Friday, but he declined to say where. However, the head of the Moscow lawyers' association, Genri Reznik, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying the meeting has been called for 4:30 p.m. (1230 GMT) at Moscow's Sheremetyevo international airport.
Snowden is believed to have been stuck in the transit zone at Sheremetyevo as he negotiates for asylum in another country.
Russian news agencies reported that Snowden had called on several organizations, among them Transparency International and Human Rights Watch, to meet with him at the airport. Reznik told Interfax that he had also received the invitation and would try to go.
The deputy head of HRW's Moscow office, Tatiana Loshkina, was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying it was unclear if she would go to the meeting. Phone calls to Transparency International went unanswered.
Snowden has not been seen in public since arriving in Moscow from Hong Kong, where he had fled before his leaks about American Internet surveillance were made public.
Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia have said they would be willing to grant asylum to Snowden. But it is unclear if Snowden could fly from Moscow to any of those countries without passing through the airspace of the United States or allied countries.
Reznik, the lawyer, said he expected Snowden called for the meeting in order to seek asylum in Russia.
Snowden made an earlier application for Russian asylum. But Russian President Vladimir Putin said asylum would be conditional on Snowden stopping leaking U.S. secrets; Snowden then withdrew his asylum bid, Russian officials said.