Whistleblower Edward Snowden has accused his native US of waging an "unlawful" and "threatening" campaign against his attempt to seek political asylum in a foreign nation. According to news agencies, he has invited representatives from key human rights and legal groups to meet with him at the Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow, where he has been stranded in stateless limbo for nearly three weeks.
According to Reuters—which confirmed the authenticity of a letter posted to Facebook by one of the invited groups by communicating separately with Snowden—Amnesty International and Transparency International had been invited to meet Snowden, with at least the former confirming it would attend.
"This dangerous escalation represents a threat not just to the dignity of Latin America or my own personal security, but to the basic right shared by every living person to live free from persecution." -from email to human rights groups attributed to Edward Snowden
In addition, according to Al-Jazeera, Human Rights Watch, the UN Representative to the Russian Federation and the Deputy Speaker of the Duma were invited to attend. There would be no press access, though indications were that Snowden may meet with press at a later date.
Tanya Lokshina, a Human Rights Watch employee in Moscow, posted this note to her Facebook page on Friday:
Yes, I'll be going to Sheremetyevo this afternoon. I'm not sure this is for real but compelled to give it a try. Wouldn't want to create an impression that HRW is not interested in what Snowden has to say.
Earlier, Lokshina posted the text of the email the group received, though she noted to reporters that she could not verify if it truly was from Snowden:
I have been extremely fortunate to enjoy and accept many offers of support and asylum from brave countries around the world. These nations have my gratitude, and I hope to travel to each of them to extend my personal thanks to their people and leaders. By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of intimidation, they have earned the respect of the world.
Unfortunately, in recent weeks we have witnessed an unlawful campaign by officials in the U.S. Government to deny my right to seek and enjoy this asylum under Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The scale of threatening behavior is without precedent: never before in history have states conspired to force to the ground a sovereign President's plane to effect a search for a political refugee. This dangerous escalation represents a threat not just to the dignity of Latin America or my own personal security, but to the basic right shared by every living person to live free from persecution.
I invite the Human Rights organizations and other respected individuals addressed to join me on 12 July at 5:00PM at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow for a brief statement and discussion regarding the next steps forward in my situation. Your cooperation and support will be greatly appreciated in this matter.
Sincerely, Edward Joseph Snowden
MEETING DETAILS: Please meet at 4.30pm at Sheremetyevo airport in Terminal F, in the centre of the arrival hall. Someone from airport staff will be waiting there to receive you with a sign labelled "G9". Please bring a copy of this invite and ID to show that you work for your organization as security will likely be tight at this meeting. A maximum of three people are able to attend from each organization. For any questions please contact the airport administration on +8 916-816-4335.
And Sergei Nikitin, the head of Amnesty International Russia, told the Guardian: "Yes, I have received a brief email. It said that [Snowden] would like to meet with a representative of a human rights organisation – there was not much information there. I'm planning to go."