Canada has granted asylum to a woman who helped Edward Snowden hide in Hong Kong after he had leaked vulnerable US global surveillance programs, a refugee association said Monday.
Vanessa Rodel and her seven-year-old daughter Keana were scheduled to arrive in Toronto later Monday on a flight from Hong Kong, said the non-profit refugee organization.
Rodel was among a group of people who protected Snowden, a former CIA employee and the United States National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, set him up in his apartment in 2013 while in Hong Kong on the run. from US authorities.
His leaks of highly classified documents revealed the existence of global surveillance programs led by the NSA in collaboration with Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada.
Snowden, now living in Russia, was accused in the United States in June 2013 with espionage and steal secrets.
Canada gave Rodel, a Filipino citizen and her daughter asylum in January, but it was kept secret for security reasons, according to refugees.
Five other people who helped Snowden have also requested asylum, but remain in Hong Kong pending a response, according to the daily national post.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declined to comment on developments.
"Because this is a situation with a particular case," he said, "it would be inappropriate for me to comment further."
Canada's immigration ministry also declined to comment, but said that under "exceptional circumstances" asylum applications could be accelerated.
Radio Canada said Rodel was under pressure from the Hong Kong authorities and was facing a risk of expulsion to the Philippines.