June 24, 2013
Ex-CIA contractor, Edward Snowden’s plane to Cuba will pass through US airspace, an Interfax source reports. Washington has an extradition notice against Snowden on charges of espionage and could intervene if the plane enters US jurisdiction.
Aeroflot flight SU150, leaves Moscow at 14:04 local time (11:04 GMT) and will fly through US airspace a couple of kilometers from the coast of New York on its way to Havana, reported Russian news agency Interfax, citing a source in Sheremetevo airport air traffic control. Snowden is checked into the flight to Havana in seat number 17A, reports the Associated Press, citing Aeroflot.
The source added that US air traffic control can legally ground the plane and take Snowden into custody on charges of espionage, theft and conversion of government property. However, the pilot may change the course of the flight so as not to pass through American airspace.
“The pilot of the plane is within his rights to change the course of the flight and there should be enough fuel to do so,” said the source to Interfax.
The Ecuadorian government has confirmed that Snowden filed for asylum and is processing the request.
WikiLeaks has actively assisted Snowden in eluding the US extradition order, has confirmed the fugitive’s final destination will be Ecuador.
Mr Snowden is “bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisers from Wikileaks.”
The news that former CIA contractor Edward Snowden had left Hong Kong emerged on Sunday. The city’s authorities published a statement saying that Snowden had legally and voluntarily left Hong Kong on Sunday on a flight to a “third country” with a stopover in Moscow. The statement also said that the documents for Snowden’s extradition submitted to the Hong Kong authorities by Washington were not sufficient to be able to “process the request.”
The White House said it was “disappointed” with Hong Kong’s move to let Snowden go and has urged Russia to consider every option to expel the fugitive.
“The US is advising these governments that Snowden is wanted on felony charges, and as such should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel, other than is necessary to return him to the United States,” a state department official said.
Washington has stressed they will seek cooperation from whichever country Snowden arrives in.
Snowden initially fled to Hong Kong after leaking troves of classified data to UK newspaper the Guardian, including information of the US spy program Prism.