Edward Snowden and Russia
Fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden’s year-long leave to stay in Russia has expired without confirmation that it will be extended.
His lawyer said he could stay in the country while his application for an extension was being processed.Snowden continues to live a life shrouded in mystery amid a dearth of public appearances.Little has been heard on the movements of the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor since he first obtained provisional leave to remain in Russia after spending according to the official version a month in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.
It is not known where the reclusive Snowden lives if he is working or if so in which sector.The last picture of Snowden published in Russian media dates from December 2013.
In it the former agent sports a red t-shirt and beige cap apparently on a boat in the middle of the Moskva river.The popular website LifeNews also published an image of Snowden pushing a supermarket trolley while out shopping which his lawyer Anatoli Kucherena confirmed to be genuine.
In April Snowden made a shock appearance on an annual question and answer session with President Vladimir Putin probing the Kremlin strongman on the surveillance of Russia’s population.
Snowden “did not voluntarily go to Moscow,” his lawyer Jesselyn Radack said Wednesday in an interview with ABC.
“He was ticketed to fly to Latin America and had to go through the transit zone in Moscow during a layover and at that point the US revoked his passport, effectively stranding him there. So Moscow was not of his choosing.”
However, now that he is in Russia, “he is in the safest place that he can be,” Radack told ABC.
Radack’s comments came a day after a German minister said Snowden’s lawyers were in talks with U.S. officials over the possibility of his returning home, and a leftist German politician urged Western governments to offer Snowden an alternative to seeking refuge from a “despotic” Russian leader.
Snowden’s one-year temporary asylum in Russia expires Thursday, and an official close to the country’s Federal Migration Service has reportedly said Moscow is likely to extend his status, though this has yet to be officially confirmed.
Prominent Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina said Moscow had likely extended Snowden’s stay, Interfax reported Thursday.
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