21st Century Wire
REYKJAVIK, ICELAND – As the Icelandic Parliament prepared to break for the summer, the matter of Edward Snowden’s bid for citizenship was put to a vote on its final day of the session. A proposal to consider a bill that would make the NSA whistleblower and fugitive a citizen of their sovereign country was defeated 33 votes to 24, with 5 members abstaining.
According to Iceland’s Pressan newspaper, it was clear at the start of voting that “the majority would not provide universal acceptance of the case.” Iceland’s Finance Minister, Bjarni Benediktsson, said an acceptance of the case by Parliament “would set a precedent for granting a person who has no connection with the country of citizenship.”
21st Century Wire previously reported that many will speculate a down vote in Iceland as extenuating pressure from Washington DC. The US has already been accused by the international community this week of applying political pressure on France and Portugal to deny the Bolivian Presidential Jet access through their airspace over accusations that Ed Snowden was being smuggled on board.
Supporters of the proposal argued that a vote for it wouldn’t grant citizenship to Snowden, but only allow Parliament to review it further in their process to make an informed decision. Their disappointment in the cursory decision was apparent.
Pirate Party MP and former WikiLeaks volunteer Birgitta Jónsdóttir had strong words for the majority, including Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson, who openly opposed the proposal. “Think of what you are doing distinguished parliamentarians,” said Jónsdóttir.
Snowden is still known to be hiding in Moscow’s airport district, the Daily Mail reports.
Granting citizenship to Snowden would still require an exception to Iceland’s rule that requires applicants for asylum to be present on their soil. Today’s vote on whether to consider the matter, effectively freezes out Snowden from yet another sovereign country in a long list of potential safe landings.