Published July 05, 2013
Icelandic lawmakers introduced a proposal in Parliament to grant immediate citizenship to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden -- but it looks like it's going nowhere.
Parliament later voted not to debate the measure before the summer recess, Reuters reported.
With his options narrowing daily, WikiLeaks announced Friday the fugitive NSA leaker had applied for asylum in another six countries, in addition to the 12 where he reportedly already has applied. However, WikiLeaks said it could not reveal the new names due to "attempted U.S. interference."
Ogmundur Jonasson, whose liberal Left-Green Party is backing the Snowden citizenship proposal along with the Pirate Party and Brighter Future Party, put the issue before the Judicial Affairs Committee Thursday, but it received minimal support.
Snowden is believed to be stuck in a Moscow airport transit area. At one point, he told the Guardian newspaper that he was inclined to seek asylum in a country that shared his values — and that "the nation that most encompasses this is Iceland."
But to apply for asylum in Iceland, Snowden would have to reach the island nation's soil.
Granting Snowden immediate citizenship would circumvent that issue. The same tactic helped get eccentric chess master Bobby Fischer to Iceland from Japan in 2005 to escape U.S. prosecution for breaking sanctions imposed on the former Yugoslavia.
Jonasson argued to parliament on Thursday that Snowden "is now being chased and has nowhere to go," according to Icelandic media.
Leaks by Snowden, a former NSA systems analyst, have revealed the NSA's sweeping data collection of U.S. phone records and some Internet traffic, though U.S. intelligence officials have said the programs are aimed at targeting foreigners and terrorist suspects mostly overseas.
The proposal to grant Snowden citizenship received limited support when it was discussed Thursday — the last day before summer recess. Six members of minority parties were in favor out of Parliament's 63 members.
Meanwhile, Russia is also reportedly losing patience with Snowden. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Reuters said Snowden should find another place to seek refuge.
"He needs to choose a place to go," Ryabkov told Reuters. "As of this moment, we do not have a formal application from Mr Snowden asking for asylum in the Russian Federation."
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.