MOSCOW – Edward Snowden’s lawyer says the NSA whistleblower has been granted permission to stay in Russia for three more years.
Snowden last year was granted temporary asylum of one year in Russia, but that ran out on Aug. 1.
His lawyer, Analtoly Kucherena, was quoted by Russian news agencies on Thursday as saying Snowden now has been granted residency for three more years, but that he had not been granted political asylum. That status, which would allow him to stay in Russia permanently, must be decided by a separate procedure, Kucherena said, but didn’t say whether Snowden is seeking it.
Snowden was stranded in a Moscow airport last year en route from Hong Kong to Cuba, shortly after he released extensive documentation about National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. He reportedly spent a month in the airport before receiving the temporary asylum, but was seen only at one tightly restricted meeting with human rights representatives.
Since receiving the temporary asylum, his whereabouts have not been made public.
The case has been significant contributor to the tensions between Russia and the United States.
“I don’t think there’s ever been any question that I’d like to go home,” Snowden said in a television interview in May. “Now, whether amnesty or clemency ever becomes a possibility is not for me to say. That’s a debate for the public and the government to decide. But, if I could go anywhere in the world, that place would be home.”
© The Canadian Press, 2014