World

Snowden's Shaky Status as Refugee

BY MASSIMO CALABRESI

When NSA leaker Edward Snowden arrived at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport on June 23, Ecuador's Foreign Minister tweeted that his country was considering Snowden's request for asylum. But is Snowden a refugee? The U.N. defines a refugee as someone who fears "being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion" and is, as a result, unable or unwilling to return to his or her country. The U.N. excludes from refugee status anyone who "has committed a serious nonpolitical crime."

That means Snowden is unlikely to meet...

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