US whistleblower Edward Snowden is en route to Moscow from Hong Kong on an Aeroflot flight, Hong Kong authorities have confirmed. WikiLeaks are aiding the ex-CIA employee with his political asylum bid in a ‘democratic country.’
The US has filed an extradition order against Snowden for espionage, theft and conversion of government property.
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.”
A source from Aeroflot told Interfax that Snowden is on flight SU213 to Moscow, landing on Sunday afternoon.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin was unaware of Snowden’s plans to fly to Moscow.
It is understood that Moscow will not be Snowden’s final destination, he could potentially fly on to Ecuador or Iceland where he has allegedly applied for asylum. A diplomatic source told the Russian news agency Itar-Tass that no request for asylum in Russia had been received from the former CIA employee.
Citing a source close to Snowden, Russian news agency Interfax reported that the whistleblower’s final destination will be Venezuela with a transfer in Havana, Cuba. He will reportedly be on flight SU150 to Havana, leaving Moscow on Monday and then on flight V-04101 to Caracas.
“He chose such a complicated route in the hope that he would not be arrested on the way to his final destination of Venezuela,” the source told Interfax.
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. A member of the WikiLeaks legal team is also accompanying the NSA leaker on his flight to Moscow.