Snowden Emerges from Hotel Hideout for Meeting with Rights Groups

It's Snowden day at Sheremetyevo! The NSA leaker will meet with human rights groups in the Moscow airport today at 5:00 p.m. (Moscow time). Snowden claims that the U.S. government is attempting to deny his right to seek asylum and violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The ACLU has supported this allegation from Snowden, saying the U.S. government has interfered with Snowden's rights for asylum by removing his passport and ostensibly preventing his application from being considered by many countries.

Snowden arrived in Russia on June 23, where he has been camped in the Sheremetyevo Airport ever since. Russian representatives had indicated that they would like Snowden to accept an offer of asylum and leave the airport shortly.

Snowden invited Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, a representative from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Transparency International, a global corruption watchdog, to meet with him. He says he will give a statement after the meeting. Highlights from the email:

"I have been extremely fortunate to enjoy and accept many offers of support and asylum from brave countries around the world. These nations have my gratitude, and I hope to travel to each of them to extend my personal thanks to their people and leaders.

By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of intimidation, they have earned the respect of the world. Unfortunately, in recent weeks we have witnessed an unlawful campaign by officials in the U.S. government to deny my right to seek and enjoy this asylum under Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights…

I invite the Human Rights organizations and other respected individuals addressed to join me ... for a brief statement and discussion regarding the next steps forward in my situation.

[images via Tanya Lokshina/Human Rights Watch / AP]