Ecuador considering Snowden's asylum request

Ecuador's minister of foreign affairs comments on asylum request at a press conference

By Loek Essers, IDG News Service |  Security

The current NSA leaks would have been helpful at the time of the Iraqi invasion that was "based on completely false information," Patiño said. "Wouldn't it have been convenient to have known that before?" he asked, adding that knowing the truth up front could have prevented the deaths of hundreds of thousands, and could have avoided the sorrow of a nation.

Reporters' questions at the press conference suggested that sheltering people like Assange and Snowden could be harmful for the Ecuadorian-U.S. relationship. "Of course we are aware of the consequences of our decisions," Patiño said, when asked what effect the possible asylum for Snowden would have on Ecuador's relationship the U.S. However, the U.S. and Ecuador are both sovereign countries that make sovereign decisions, he said.

Moreover, Ecuador has requested the extradition of Ecuadorian citizens who fled to the U.S. on several occasions, Patiño said. In those cases the U.S. exercised its sovereignty and decided not to extradite those people, owners of banks, who have harmed millions of Ecuadorians, he said.

Ecuador places human rights above any other principle, Patiño said, adding that is one of the main reasons Snowden's asylum request is being considered. Patiño also quoted several articles from the Ecuadorian constitution, one of which states that spying on citizens is illegal.

He also referred to the protection of human rights in the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adding that the fourth and fifth amendment in the U.S. Constitution also address related issues.

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