After the European Parliament passed a resolution Thursday urging states to drop criminal charges against former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and offer him protection, two political parties in Denmark have stepped forward, the Local reported Friday. The left-leaning Alternative and the Red-Green Alliance parties want Denmark’s Parliament to vote on offering Snowden asylum.
“Snowden is a democratic hero and it is fantastic that the EU has now gone in front and is holding democracy’s banner high,” said Uffe Elbæk, a member of Parliament from the Alternative party. “I would be incredibly proud of Denmark if we were the European country to offer Edward Snowden asylum.”
Elbæk urged Denmark’s parliament to offer Snowden asylum last year. Snowden fled the U.S. in 2013 after leaking documents to journalists that exposed the mass surveillance programs of the NSA. Snowden first headed to Hong Kong before Russian President Vladimir Putin granted him refuge in Russia, where he currently resides.
This is not a blow against the US Government, but an open hand extended by friends. It is a chance to move forward. pic.twitter.com/fBs5H32wyD
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 29, 2015
Denmark’s Red-Green Alliance also issued a statement in support of offering Snowden asylum. However, it remains unclear if a vote would be scheduled any time soon.
“Edward Snowden has revealed that the American intelligence service has spied on European governments and carried out mass surveillance of the European people so it is in our own interest to protect a brave man like Snowden,” said the party’s spokeswoman Pernille Skipper.
A member of Snowden’s legal team welcomed Thursday’s decision from the European Parliament.
“It is an overdue step and we urge the member states to act now to implement the resolution,” said attorney Wolfgang Kaleck, according to the Daily Dot.
The Thursday vote in parliament was close with a 285-281 vote and recognized Snowden as a “whistleblower and international human rights defender.” The vote is not legally binding and it remains unclear if any European nation will want to challenge the U.S., which has called for Snowden’s return so that he may stand trial.