Holyrood To Consider Snowden Asylum

A plea for the Scottish Government to grant asylum to US whistleblower Edward Snowden if Scotland votes for independence will be considered by MSPs at Holyrood today.

Campaigner Mick Napier has put forward a petition, calling for Mr Snowden to be offered political asylum if there is a Yes vote in September's referendum.

The former university lecturer will make his case to MSPs on the Public Petitions Committee this morning.

It comes after the whistleblower was elected rector of one of the UK's oldest universities, Glasgow University, earlier this year.

Mr Snowdon, who is staying in Russia where he has been given temporary asylum, became a wanted man when his leaks brought to light secret National Security Agency (NSA) documents which revealed widespread US surveillance of phone and internet communications.

Mr Napier said he had asked both Education Secretary Mike Russelll and External Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf if Mr Snowden would be granted asylum in an independent Scotland, but added that both men had "declined to support the aims of this petition''.

In the petition he argued the American had "revealed uncontested information on the extensive surveillance undertaken by the British GCHQ and the US NSA to the extent that they furtively collect all emails and text messages of every citizen''.

Mr Napier added: "For this we owe him a debt of gratitude and the award of political asylum would be a demonstration of that gratitude.''

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "We cannot comment on individual cases.

"Asylum is granted within the terms of relevant international law to those fleeing persecution or serious harm in their own country and in need of international protection, and an independent Scotland would consider each case on its own merits when or if an application is made.''