Legislator Regina Ip has requested that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leave Hong Kong, stating that they cannot grant him refugee status against the U.S. government’s request.
“It’s actually in his best interest to leave Hong Kong,” Ip said.
Snowden fled to Hong Kong because of its strong tradition of free speech. It is possible that he may take advantage of a recent Court of Final Appeal ruling, which states that the government has a duty not to send people to places where they might face cruel or degrading treatment or punishment. If Snowden can prove that his treatment by the U.S. government will lead to persecution, he may evade extradition.
"The reality, as he said, is that he has no good options," Gleen Greenwald, the Guardian journalist reporting on Snowden’s leaks, said. "It's deciding which is least bad."
While his exact location is unknown, many believe that Snowden may be near Victoria Peak on the outskirts of downtown Hong Kong. He checked out of the Mira Hotel there Monday morning, and nothing more is known thus far.
In an interview with The Guardian, Snowden said he may seek asylum in Iceland, though Iceland’s ambassador to China Kristin Arnadottir said the government can’t offer asylum unless Snowden is in the country.
Iceland parliament member Birgitta Jonsdottir said it is Iceland’s duty to offer assistance and advise to Snowden, and has already begun research into an application for asylum.