The e-mail sent by fugitive documents leaker Edward Snowden to human rights groups working in Russia asks representatives from the groups to meet with him at the airport at 5 p.m. local time on Friday (9 a.m. Eastern time).
The e-mail was posted to Facebook by Moscow-based Human Rights Watch researcher Tanya Lokshina, who says she received it at 5 a.m. Thursday her time (9 p.m. Wednesday in Washington). The e-mail appears to indicate that the meeting is being organized with assistance from Moscow airport officials. Snowden expresses his desire to visit every country that offers him asylum – at this point, that list consists of Nicaragua, Bolivia and Venezuela – and says that the U.S. effort to keep him out of any of those countries is "without precedent." Here is the e-mail in full:
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. The scale of threatening behavior is without precedent: never before in history have states conspired to force to the ground a sovereign President's plane to effect a search for a political refugee. This dangerous escalation represents a threat not just to the dignity of Latin America or my own personal security, but to the basic right shared by every living person to live free from persecution.
I invite the Human Rights organizations and other respected individuals addressed to join me on 12 July at 5:00PM at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow for a brief statement and discussion regarding the next steps forward in my situation. Your cooperation and support will be greatly appreciated in this matter.
Edward Joseph Snowden
Please meet at 4.30pm at Sheremetyevo airport in Terminal F, in the centre of the arrival hall. Someone from airport staff will be waiting there to receive you with a sign labelled "G9". Please bring a copy of this invite and ID to show that you work for your organization as security will likely be tight at this meeting. A maximum of three people are able to attend from each organization. For any questions please contact the airport administration on +8 916-816-4335.
Lokshina later wrote on Facebook, about two hours before the scheduled meeting time, "Got a call from some people in Sheremetyevo who took down my passport details for the Snowden meeting. Looks like its really happening. Hmmm."