Thursday, August 7, 2014

Russia Extends Snowden’s Asylum for 3 Years – Lawyer

Russian authorities have extended the temporary asylum for fugitive National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden for three years starting from August 1, his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said Thursday.
Russia’s Federal Migration Service refused to comment on the report.
«Political asylum is not under consideration. In this case, a decision was made about his residence permit. The permission was issued for three years with a possibility of extension for another three years," Kucherena told reporters in Moscow.
The lawyer said that a foreign national may apply for Russian citizenship after living in the country for five years, but said it was up to Snowden to decide.

Snowden is free to travel in Russia and abroad, the lawyer said.
He said that a political asylum is granted by a presidential decree and is "an absolutely different procedure."
Snowden’s temporary asylum in Russia expired last Thursday. The whistleblower received temporary asylum in Russia for one year on August 1, 2013, after living in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo international airport for a month.
Snowden fled the United States in June 2013, after leaking information about the extensive electronic surveillance programs conducted by the US government around the globe, including eavesdropping on American citizens and foreign leaders. The revelations have sparked domestic controversy and strained relations between the US and its partners worldwide.
The United States accused Snowden of theft, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified documents to an unauthorized person. Each of the three charges carries a maximum possible prison term of ten years.
US authorities have rejected claims that Snowden is a whistleblower, insisting that he committed crimes and should stand trial at home. The US has charged Snowden with espionage and revoked his passport.
Snowden's whereabouts in Russia remain secret, although the asylum gives him the right to move freely, the lawyer said. Last week, the Kucherena said the whistleblower's life in Russia has been very "fruitful."

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