Pleading for asylum from U.S. officials he says want to persecute him, NSA leaker Edward Snowden told Ecuadorian officials that he fears a life of inhumane treatment -- even death -- if he's returned the United States to answer espionage charges, the country's foreign minister said Monday.
Snowden, the computer contractor who exposed details of secret U.S. surveillance programs, told Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa that it is "unlikely that I will have a fair trial or humane treatment" if handed over to U.S. officials to stand trial, according to a letter from Snowden read by Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino.
While Patino, speaking at a news conference in Vietnam, said the country has yet to decide on Snowden's asylum request, he questioned whether it was Snowden or the United States that was acting badly in the affair.
He called the surveillance programs revealed by Snowden "a breach of the rights" of people around the world.
"We have to ask, who has betrayed who?" he said.
Correa, meanwhile, took to Twitter to address the issue. "Rest assured that we will analyze the Snowden case very responsibly and we will make with absolute sovereignty the decision that we believe is most appropriate," the president tweeted.
He added, "A big hug to everyone and happy week."
Snowden -- whose passport has been revoked by U.S. authorities -- left Hong Kong Sunday on a "refugee document of passage" issued by Ecuador, according to Julian Assange, founder of the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, which is aiding Snowden in his efforts to find a safe haven.
Russian officials confirmed that he had flown to Moscow, where he spent the night at Sheremetyevo International Airport, according to media reports. It was unclear where he was Monday, but White House spokesman Jay Carney said U.S. officials presume he remains in Russia.
Assange would say only that the former National Security Agency contractor is "in a safe place and his spirits are high."
In addition to Ecuador, Snowden is asking Iceland and other, unspecified countries to consider granting him asylum, WikiLeaks attorney Michael Ratner told reporters Friday.
Iceland has not received a formal application from Snowden, the Interior Ministry said Monday.
Snowden had been expected to board a flight to Cuba on Monday, Russia's semiofficial Interfax news agency reported. But a CNN journalist on a flight to Cuba said Snowden did not appear to be in the cabin. Interfax later reported that he did not board the plane and may be planning on taking the next flight to Cuba.
Officials at the airport declined Monday to say whether Snowden remained there.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials cast a wide net seeking his return, telling Russia and Latin American countries that they should hand Snowden over should he land on their soil.
President Barack Obama told reporters Monday that the United States is pursuing all legal channels to bring Snowden back. And Carney said U.S. officials are reaching out to numerous countries in an effort to have Snowden turned over.
"The U.S. is advising these governments that Mr. Snowden is wanted on felony charges and as such should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel other than is necessary to return him here to the United States," he said.
But CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said the issue now "is much more of a political and diplomatic matter than it is a legal matter."
"In an ordinary case, sure, you need a passport to get around," Toobin said. "But here, where this case is causing increasing embarrassment for the United States, governments that want the United States to be embarrassed are only too happy to waive some of the technical legal rules."
Secretary of State John Kerry particularly urged Russian authorities to work with the United States, noting that U.S. officials have turned over seven prisoners to Russia in recent years.
"We need to cooperate on this because it's important to the upholding of the rule of law," he told CNN.
He defended the U.S. effort to capture Snowden for prosecution, saying "people may die as a consequence of what this man did."
Meanwhile. FBI Director Robert Mueller called his counterpart at Russia's Federal Security Service twice Monday concerning Snowden, a senior administration official said.
In Washington, a Justice Department official told CNN that the United States isn't planning to ask for a "red notice" calling on members of the international police agency Interpol to take Snowden into custody.
The official, however, declined to say if the United States has sent or will send provisional arrest warrants to other countries that might take Snowden in or help him in his travels.