U.S. Whistleblower Edward Snowden Granted Permanent Residency By Russia
Published: October 22, 2020
The Russian government has granted permanent residency rights to U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden, his lawyer said on Thursday, a move that allows the former NSA contractor to avoid returning to the U.S. where he faces a criminal trial on espionage charges.
Key FactsSnowden’s residency permit, which was set to expire, has been extended and is now indefinite, Russian news agency TASS reported first.
Snowden’s application was filed back in April, but the process was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden’s Russian lawyer, told the AFP that Snowden will “himself” make a decision on whether he wants to apply for Russian citizenship or not.
Kucherena added it was "natural" that Snowden wanted to return to the United States, something he has also said in the past, but he will only do so when the case against him is closed.
Key BackgroundIn 2013, Snowden fled the United States after leaking information on the extensive domestic and international surveillance operations undertaken by U.S. intelligence agencies which included eavesdropping on foreign leaders. After sending asylum requests to multiple countries, Snowden received a Russian residence permit valid for three years in 2014, which was later extended for another three years. In August, U.S. President Donald Trump, who previously labeled Snowden a “traitor”, said that he was considering a pardon for Snowden but added that his staff was divided on the issue: “Many people think he should be somehow treated differently, and other people think he did very bad things.”
Further ReadingEdward Snowden obtains open-ended Russian residence permit (TASS)
Trump Says He Will ‘Take A Look’ At Pardoning Edward Snowden (Forbes)
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