'I'm not a criminal', says Morales after jet diverted: report
Bolivian President Evo Morales angrily denied any wrongdoing today after his plane was diverted to Vienna over suspicion fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden was on board.
"I'm not a criminal," the Austria Press Agency quoted Morales as saying at Vienna airport, after France, Italy, Spain and Portugal denied his plane entry into their airspace overnight.
Bolivian and Austrian officials said Snowden was not aboard the plane which arrived from Moscow late yesterday, though no search of the jet has been carried out.
The Russian capital is also where Snowden has been holed up in an airport transit area since June 23. He is seeking to avoid US espionage charges for revealing a vast surveillance program to collect phone and Internet data.
Morales told reporters that Madrid had asked to inspect his plane before giving it permission to enter its airspace, a request he said he denied because it would violate international law.
Spain has since granted Bolivia permission to fly over its territory, the foreign ministry in Madrid said.