US surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden has written in his asylum request letter to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega that it is unlikely he will receive a fair trial in the United States.
Nicaragua revealed some details of Snowden's letter to Ortega late on Saturday, AFP reported on Sunday.
"I, Edward Snowden, citizen of the United States, am writing to seek asylum in the Republic of Nicaragua because of the risk of being persecuted by the (US) government and its agents" for revealing the existence of a vast US spying program, he wrote, according to the Spanish language text of the letter.
"Under the circumstances, it is unlikely that I would receive a fair trial or appropriate treatment before trial," in which, Snowden added, he would "face the possibility of life in prison or death."
Snowden, a former CIA employee, has been holed up at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport since June 23 when he travelled from Hong Kong to avoid US extradition.
He has already sought asylum in more than two dozen countries. Washington has asked these countries not to provide asylum to Snowden.
Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Venezuela have offered to grant asylum to Snowden.
On Friday, the Nicaraguan president said, "We are open, respectful of the right to asylum, and it is clear that if circumstances permit it, we would receive Snowden with pleasure and give him asylum here in Nicaragua."
The US has revoked Snowden’s passport, with State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki saying the fugitive “should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel, other than is necessary to return him to the US.”
Snowden leaked two top secret US government spying programs under which the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.
On June 9, Snowden admitted his role in the leaks in a 12-minute video recorded interview published by The Guardian
In the interview, he denounced what he described as systematic surveillance of innocent US citizens, saying his "sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them."
The NSA scandal took even broader dimensions when Snowden revealed information about its espionage activities targeting friendly countries.