June 23, 2013 - 14:10 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency, charged by the United States with espionage, was allowed to leave Hong Kong on Sunday, June 23 because a U.S. extradition request did not comply with the law, the Hong Kong government said, according to Reuters.
Edward Snowden left for Moscow on Sunday and his final destination may be Cuba, Ecuador, Iceland or Venezuela, according to various reports. The move is bound to infuriate Washington, wherever he ends up.
Russia's Interfax news agency quoted a source at the Aeroflot airline as saying there was a ticket in Snowden's name for a Moscow-Cuba flight. Itar-Tass cited a source as saying Snowden would fly from Havana to the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. The South China Morning Post said his final destination may be Ecuador or Iceland.
A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was unaware of Snowden's whereabouts or travel plans.
The WikiLeaks anti-secrecy website said it helped Snowden find "political asylum in a democratic country". It did not elaborate, other than to say Snowden was "currently over Russian airspace" with WikiLeaks legal advisers.
U.S. authorities have charged Snowden with theft of U.S. government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence to an unauthorized person, with the latter two charges falling under the U.S. Espionage Act.
The United States had asked Hong Kong, a special administrative region (SAR) of China, to send him home.