November 6, 2013
Despite the fact more than 50 German public figures have called for the country to give whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum, the German government believes there is no reason to do so. German officialdom says Snowden is not suffering from political persecution.
“There is no reason to offer asylum to Edward Snowden. He is not a person under political persecution,” German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said in a statement published by the daily Münchner Merkur. “Apart from that, Snowden could only apply for asylum in Germany if he was already in the country,” he added.
Snowden is currently staying in Russia.
The Germans say they have looked into Snowden’s case but see nothing of merit there. “At that time, the Foreign Office and Federal Ministry of the Interior came to the mutual decision that the conditions for admission had not been fulfilled,” Friedrich said.
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told Spiegel Online it is more important not to ruffle the feathers of the U.S. government.
“There is a feasible, legal way to bring Snowden to Germany while protecting him from extradition to the Americans,” Bernd Riexinger, the head of the German Left Party, told the daily Mitteldeutsche Zeitung. “But this government is apparently lacking the political will.” He would like to see the German Parliament pass a resolution forcing the government to offer Snowden asylum.
Germany continues to give deference to the United States despite the fact the NSA was caught bugging German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone.
“The transatlantic alliance remains of the utmost importance for Germans,” said Steffen Seibert, a German government spokesman. “Hardly any country has benefited from this partnership, this friendship, as Germany has. It is of the utmost importance. We will act in the spirit of the alliance. This is what we have done in the past and this will guide all of the chancellor’s decisions in the future.”