What If No Country Takes Edward Snowden?

Edward Snowden, the U.S.  leaker who’s been holed up so long inside the transit zone of a Moscow airport that reporters and pundits are drawing comparisons to The  Terminal, the 2004 comedy-drama starring Tom Hanks, wants out.

After Russia insisted that  Snowden could stay only on the condition that he muzzled himself and stopped  “harming” the U.S, the whistle-blower organization WikiLeaks announced on  July 2 that Snowden filed 21 requests for asylum around the world, signaling his  intent to find a more permanent home.

It’s an interesting list (below, which we’ll update as more country  statements come in). But after just mere hours, more than half the countries  responded. Some gave a flat-out “no” (Brazil, India, Poland) while others said  Snowden would have to physically walk onto their soil in order to properly file  (Ecuador, Ireland, Norway). The rest are taking their time to reply.

Guy Goodwin-Gill, a professor of international refugee law at Oxford  University and former legal adviser to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees,  says politics is the dominant factor in Snowden’s case. International law  allows him to apply anywhere he wants, but it’s up to individual countries to  accept him. Many of those he has reportedly approached have existing bilateral  extradition treaties with the U.S.; others may simply not want to sour ties with  Washington by sheltering a fugitive whistle-blower.