Snowden accuses Russia of muzzling dissentArchive
OSLO: Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden on Saturday criticised Russia — the country that has granted him asylum — calling its crackdown on human rights and online freedom “fundamentally wrong” and said he would prefer not to live in exile.
Snowden said Moscow’s restrictions on the web were “a mistake in policy” and “fundamentally wrong” as he accepted a Norwegian freedom of expression prize by videophone from Russia.
“It’s wrong in Russia, and it would be wrong anywhere,” said Snowden, 32, who sought asylum in Russia two years ago after Washington filed a warrant for his arrest for having leaked documents that revealed the vast scale of US surveillance programmes.
Pushed on Moscow’s deteriorating human rights record, the whistleblower said the situation is “disappointing, it’s frustrating” and described restrictions on the Internet as part of a wider problem in Russia.
“I’ve been quite critical of (it) in the past and I’ll continue to be in the future, because this drive that we see in the Russian government to control more and more the Internet, to control more and more what people are seeing, even parts of personal lives, deciding what is the appropriate or inappropriate way for people to express their love for one another...(is) fundamentally wrong,” he said.Snowden said he had “never intended to go to Russia, that was never my plan” and that he had been transiting the country en route for Latin America when US officials cancelled his passport.
“I applied for asylum in 21 countries,” he told the audience at the ceremony for the Norwegian Academy of Literature and Freedom of Expression’s Bjornson Prize.—AFP
Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2015
On a mobile phone? Get the Dawn Mobile App: Apple Store | Google Play