Icelandic lawmakers have put legislation on the table that would make NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden a citizen of the polar country.
Member of Iceland’s parliament Ögmundur Jónasson first made the proposition this morning, the last day before the 63-member legislative body begins their summer leave.
Granting citizenship to Edward Snowden, who admits to revealing key details of U.S. surveillance activities would circumvent the rule that he must be on Icelandic soil to apply for asylum there.
The same tactic helped get eccentric chess master Bobby Fischer to Iceland from Japan in 2005 to escape U.S. prosecution for breaking sanctions imposed on the former Yugoslavia, according to 21st Century Wire.
Ögmundur Jónasson, whose liberal Left-Green Party is backing the proposal along with the Pirate Party and Brighter Future Party, put the issue before the Judicial Affairs Committee, but the idea received minimal support.
“We wanted to do this earlier,” wrote Pirate Party politician Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson on his Facebook page.
“But citizenship is an extremely delicate issue when it’s granted by parliament instead of granted through ordinary legal processes.”
Iceland’s parliament, known as Althing, saw three Pirate Party members elected in 2013. NPR billed the party as an “international online freedom movement”.
Ögmundur Jónasson argued to parliament on Thursday that Edward Snowden “is now being chased and has nowhere to go”, according to Icelandic media.
Edward Snowden, 30, also has a friend in former Icelandic presidential candidate Asthor Magnusson, who is collecting signatures from Icelanders as part of a petition to make his a citizen.
“I appeal to the oldest parliament in the world, the Althing in Iceland to grant a citizenship to Edward Joseph Snowden and issue him with travel documents for safe passage to Reykjavik,” Asthor Magnusson wrote in an appeal to Parliament, according to RT News.
“As matters have developed, I think that Icelanders should say <<This is enough: We support open society and human rights>>. It’s a basic human right to grant this man asylum in Iceland.”
The ruling Conservative and Moderate parties could halt the bill. And some have speculated that the country’s president, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, could succumb to pressure purportedly being placed on international leaders by the U.S. government and veto the legislation.
Not surprisingly, Iceland also plays host to the website WikiLeaks, another well-known whistleblowing foe of the world’s intelligence community.
WikiLeaks has become a sort of public relations face for Edward Snowden, who remains in hiding.
On Monday, WikiLeaks released a letter they say was penned by Edward Snowden.
“I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many,” Edward Snowden wrote in closing.
Members of the Icelandic parliament, it seems, may be among those “many” taking efforts to help Edward Snowden.
For now, Edward Snowden is believed to be stuck in a Moscow airport transit area, seeking asylum from more than a dozen countries.
Though stuck may be the wrong word. He is one of America’s most wanted fugitives, but it seems that Edward Snowden could be living in luxury at a hotel at a Moscow airport.
The Novotel Moscow Sheremetyevo picks travelers up from the airport, transports them in a bus and houses them on a sealed floor, ensuring that they never step on Russian soil.
It has a fitness centre, games room, library, Turkish/steam bath, and indoor pool.
The hotel is just 35 minutes from central Moscow and with 493 rooms, it is one of the largest in the area.