The NSA whistle-blower arrived in Moscow on Sunday after authorities in Hong Kong allowed him to leave despite a U.S. request for his arrest. In a statement, WikiLeaks said Edward Snowden was headed to a democratic country “via a safe route” for asylum purposes.

The pro-transparency group has been providing the 30-year-old with legal assistance and other aid at his request. Snowden has been hiding in Hong Kong since identifying himself as the source of disclosures of U.S. mass spying programs.

U.S. authorities disclosed Friday that Snowden had been charged with espionage, theft and conversion of government material. He had previously said he would remain in China to fight the American government in Hong Kong’s courts.

Snowden appears set to travel from Moscow to Cuba on Monday and then eventually on to Quito, Ecuador. Russian authorities said they knew nothing of his plans.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The Guardian:

The Hong Kong government said on Sunday he had left of his own accord “through a lawful and normal channel” and said the request filed by the US did not fully comply with legal requirements. Pointedly, it also said it wanted Washington to clarify Snowden’s claims that the US had hacked targets in the territory.

Sunday’s statement from the Hong Kong authorities said: “Since the documents provided by the US government did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law, the HKSAR government has requested the US government to provide additional information so that the department of justice could consider whether the US government’s request can meet the relevant legal conditions.

“As the HKSAR government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.

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