Granted 1-year Asylum in Russia, Leaves Airport
Clearing House - "RT"
whistleblower Edward Snowden has been granted temporary asylum
in Russia and is allowed to enter the country’s territory.
The whistleblower has been granted temporary political asylum in
Russia, Snowden's legal representative Anatoly Kucherena said,
with his words later confirmed by Russia’s Federal Migration
“I have just handed over to him papers from the Russian
Immigration Service. They are what he needs to leave the transit
zone,” he added.
Kucherena showed a photocopy of the document to the press.
According to it, Snowden is free to stay in Russia until at
least July 31, 2014. His asylum status may be extended annually
With his newly-awarded legal status in Russia, Snowden cannot be
handed over to the US authorities, even if Washington files an
official request. He can now be transported to the United States
only if he agrees to go voluntarily.
Snowden departed at around 15.30 Moscow time (11.30 GMT),
airport sources said. His departure came some 30 minutes before
his new refugee status was officially announced.
His present location has not been made public nor will it be
disclosed, Kucherena said.
“He is the most wanted person on earth and his security will be
a priority,” the attorney explained. “He will deal with personal
security issues and lodging himself. I will just consult him as
Snowden eventually intends to talk to the press in Russia, but
needs at least one day of privacy, Kucherena said.
The whistleblower was unaccompanied when he left the airport in
a regular taxi, Kucherena added.
However, WikiLeaks contradicted the lawyer, saying the
organization’s activist Sarah Harrison accompanied Snowden.
Russia is confident that the latest development in the Snowden
case will not affect US President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit
to Moscow, presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said.
“We are aware of the atmosphere being created in the US over
Snowden, but we didn’t get any signals [indicating a possible
cancellation of the visit] from American authorities,” he told
Snowden, a former CIA employee and NSA contractor, came to
international prominence after leaking several classified
documents detailing massive electronic surveillance by the US
government and foreign allies who collaborated with them.
Snowden was hiding out in a Hong Kong hotel when he first went
public in May. Amidst mounting US pressure on both Beijing and
local authorities in the former-British colony to hand the
whistleblower over for prosecution, Snowden flew to Moscow on
Moscow was initially intended as a temporary stopover on his
journey, as Snowden was believed to be headed to Ecuador via
Cuba. However, he ended up getting stranded at Sheremetyevo
Airport after the US government revoked his passport. Snowden
could neither leave Russia nor enter it, forcing him to remain
in the airport’s transit zone.
In July, Snowden applied for temporary asylum in Russia, a
status that would allow him to live and work in the country for
one year. Kucherena earlier said the fugitive whistleblower is
considering securing permanent residency in Russia, where he
will attempt to build a life.
Safest in Russia, says Father
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