hands holding protect Snowden sign
© www.express.co.uk
The people speak out in defense of their defender.
Scottish lawmakers will consider a petition Tuesday to grant fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden asylum in Scotland should it gain independence.

The petition will be considered by the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee, which allows individual voters to put forward proposals.

It has been lodged by former university lecturer Mick Napier, who says Snowden deserves political asylum.

Napier's petition says Snowden "revealed uncontested information on the extensive surveillance undertaken by the British GCHQ and the US NSA to the extent that they furtively collect all emails and text messages of every citizen."

It adds: "For this we owe him a debt of gratitude and the award of political asylum would be a demonstration of that gratitude."

Scottish parliament in session
© www.andrewcarnegiesinternationallegacy.org
Scotland's Parliament in session.
Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, was granted asylum by Russia last August after a series of leaks on mass surveillance sparked global controversy over the surveillance of phone calls and emails by the NSA and other intelligence agencies.

The precise location of Snowden, who faces espionage charges from US authorities, has been secret ever since.

But he took part in a phone-in with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month, quizzing him on Moscow's surveillance activities.

The 30-year-old was elected rector of Glasgow University by students in February.

Scotland will hold a referendum on independence on September 18.

Support for independence stands at 34 percent, compared to 46 percent who want to stay in the United Kingdom, according to an ICM poll of 1,003 people published Sunday.