, LONDON, Jun 24 – Fugitive US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden is “healthy and safe”, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said on Monday, although he refused to reveal his whereabouts.
Snowden and the WikiLeaks staff member travelling with him, Sarah Harrison, are “healthy and safe and they are in contact with their legal team”, Assange said in a teleconference.
“I cannot give further information as to their whereabouts or present circumstances other than to say that the matter is in hand,” he added.
“We are aware where Mr Snowden is, he is in a safe place and his spirits are high.
“Due to the bellicose threats coming from the US administration we cannot go into further detail at this time. Unfortunately we cannot reveal what country he is in at this time.”
After leaving his bolthole in Hong Kong, Snowden vanished in Moscow on Monday after failing to take a flight to Cuba from where he had been expected to continue to Ecuador and claim asylum.
Ecuador has been harbouring Assange in its London embassy for a year after he fled there to avoid deportation to Sweden where investigators want to question him about accusations of rape.
Assange said Snowden left Hong Kong on Sunday “bound for Ecuador via a safe passage through Russia and other states”.
Snowden went on the run after embarrassing US President Barack Obama by revealing a massive surveillance programme.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has dubbed Snowden a traitor to his country and warned both Russia and China that their relations with the United States might be damaged by their refusal to extradite him.