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Danish PM: No asylum for 'criminal' Snowden

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Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen said he could see no reason to grant Edward Snowden asylum. Photo: Niels Ahlmann Olesen/Scanpix
08:15 CET+01:00
Any thought of Denmark offering asylum to US intelligence whistle-blower Edward Snowden has been effectively killed by Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen.
After EU lawmakers passed a non-binding resolution last week calling on the bloc's 28 member states to grant protection to Edward Snowden as a "human rights defender”, Danish left-wing political parties The Alternative and the Red-Green Alliance said Danish MPs should vote on offering him asylum in Denmark
 
But in parliament on Tuesday, PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen effectively extinguished the idea, saying there were no grounds for Denmark to offer Snowden a safe haven. 
 
“I have a very hard time seeing what the reasoning would be for parliament to pass a special law taking the extraordinary step of offering an American citizen political amnesty in Denmark,” Rasmussen said.
 
“He is sought for a series of legal violations; that's what he is. And the US is a democratic constitutional state,” Rasmussen added. 
 
The Alternative’s Uffe Elbæk was behind an unsuccessful 2014 attempt to get parliament to offer Snowden asylum in Denmark, with the then ruling Social Democrats responding in much the same way that Rasmussen did on Tuesday. 
 
Without the backing of those two parties, there is essentially no chance of assembling a parliamentary majority in favour of granting Snowden asylum. If a formal vote takes place, Politiko reported last week that it would be unlikely happen until after the new year. 
 
Snowden has been living in exile in Russia since June 2013 and faces US charges of espionage and theft of state property which could see him put him in jail for 30 years.
 
He says he was doing his duty as a citizen by informing others about the surveillance programmes which scooped up massive amounts of personal data in the name of national security.

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Last week’s vote in the European Parliament has no legal force, as questions of asylum and immigration are decided at the national level. But Snowden hailed the vote as  "extraordinary" and a "game-changer".
 
"This is not a blow against the US government but an open hand extended by friends. It is a chance to move forward," he wrote on Twitter. 
 

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