27 Jun 2013

Asylum for fugitive could take weeks - Ecuador

6:05 am on 27 June 2013

Ecuador says it could take weeks to decide on an asylum bid by the fugitive intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

Foreign minister Ricardo Patino said it took two months to make a decision in the case of Julian Assange so don't expect a decision sooner this time.

Snowden, who leaked information about massive US surveillance programmes of phone and internet data, is in Moscow airport awaiting word on his asylum bid. He arrived there from Hong Kong on Sunday.

President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela said his country would also consider any asylum request from Snowden just as Ecuador is doing.

The United States told Russia it has a "clear legal basis" to expel Snowden.

But WikiLeaks, which helped organise the flight from Hong Kong, said he risks being stuck in Russia permanently.