Will Snowden Get Asylum?

Max Fisher suspects he’ll have trouble qualifying, writing that Snowden’s “best case could be to claim membership in a persecuted social group, perhaps by arguing that the U.S. persecutes whisteblowers.” In a follow-up post, Fisher goes into more detail:

In the end … a case as high-profile as Snowden’s may come down more to politics than law. Musalo suggested that, based on her experience, Snowden should look at different countries’s case law on asylum and in particular on whistleblowers, whether their extradition law has an exception for political offenses, what conventions they’ve signed to and how they’ve applied them. But he should also ask, she said, “What country wants to stand up to the U.S.?” Granting political asylum is often a matter of not just law but also foreign policy and international relations. “Although it should not be perceived this way, a grant of asylum to an individual from Country X is seen sometimes as an indictment of Country X.” So who wants to stick their thumb in Uncle Sam’s eye?

Dylan Matthews chats with extradition expert Christopher Blakesley about the countries Snowden should have gone to:

Blakesley says he would tell him to go to Iceland (where Snowden has hinted he may be headed) or to France. Sweden, Finland, or another Nordic country would do in a pinch; Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway all adhere to a similar extradition model, and are, according to Blakesley, “very independent and strong in protecting folks in situations such as this.”

So far, one Icelandic member of parliament is pushing to aid Snowden. And, if all else fails, he may have a shot at asylum in Russia.