Snowden seeks temporary asylum in Russia, lawyer says

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is seen in this image taken from video during an interview by The Guardian June 6. Credit: Reuters
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been offered asylum in Venezuela.
Credit: Reuters

Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden applied for temporary asylum in Russia on Tuesday after three weeks holed up at a Moscow airport trying to avoid prosecution in the United States on espionage charges.

Snowden is seeking refuge in Latin America after leaking details of U.S. government surveillance programs, but has not risked taking any flight that might be intercepted by the United States since flying in from Hong Kong on June 23.

“He reached the conclusion that he needs to write an application for temporary asylum (in Russia), and this procedure has just been done,” Anatoly Kucherena, a lawyer who met Snowden on Friday along with human rights activists, told Reuters.

“For now he is not going to go anywhere. For now he plans to stay in Russia,” he said, adding that if Snowden were granted temporary asylum, he should have the same rights as other citizens and be free to work and travel in Russia.

The asylum application could end his time in limbo but risks deepening tension between the United States and Russia, which has refused to expel him to his homeland for prosecution.

The head of Russia’s Federal Migration Service (FMS) confirmed the agency had received Snowden’s application. Anti-secrecy group Wikileaks, which has been helping Snowden, said on Twitter that he had applied for “a temporary protection visa.”

Snowden, 30, is trapped in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, an area between the runway and passport control which Russia regards as neutral territory.

He said on Friday he would seek refuge in Russia only until he can travel to one of the three Latin American countries ready to give him political asylum — Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

He said the United States and its allies were preventing him from reaching those countries. Washington has revoked Snowden’s passport and urged other nations not to help him reach an asylum destination.

Kucherena said he expected a decision on Snowden’s asylum request “soon,” though the Federal Migration Service has up to three months to decide on the application.

PUTIN’S CONDITIONS

The process for seeking temporary asylum is different from that for political asylum, which Kucherena said would require a decree from President Vladimir Putin.

Putin has rejected repeated U.S. calls to send Snowden to the United States, but has said he does not want the fugitive to harm already strained relations with Washington.

Snowden is useful as a propaganda tool for Putin, who accuses the U.S. government of preaching to the world about rights and freedoms it does not uphold at home.

But Putin has invited President Barack Obama for a summit in Moscow in September and both countries have signaled they want to improve ties.

Putin has said twice that Snowden must stop all activities “aimed at harming our American partners” if he wants political asylum in Russia, but he has not made clear whether the condition applies to temporary asylum as well.

Temporary asylum is granted by the FMS, but Putin would be expected to make the final decision himself, even though he has tried to distance himself from Snowden’s predicament.

Putin said on Monday he hoped Snowden would leave as soon as he could, but left the door open for granting him asylum, saying there were signs the American fugitive was moving towards meeting the conditions he has set.

Temporary asylum can be granted for up to a year, with the possibility of extension.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Preachers rail at NYPD at Eric Garner's funeral

Preacher after preacher stepped up to the pulpit at a sweltering Brooklyn church on Wednesday to express fury at the city's police force during the funeral of Eric Garner, who…

Local

Newark schools probed after claims of race discrimination

The U.S. Department of Education said on Wednesday it was investigating complaints that a plan to reorganize public schools in Newark, New Jersey, discriminates against black students.

National

Dogs are capable of feeling jealousy - U.S.…

By Curtis Skinner(Reuters) - Dogs are a man's best friend, and research released on Wednesday says canines want to keep it that way.Dogs are capable…

Local

G train riders brace for five-week shutdown

G train service will be suspended between Brooklyn and Queens between Friday, July 25, and Tuesday, Sept. 2.

Going Out

Where to go drinking on National Tequila Day…

Thursday is just close enough to the end of the week to make you envision yourself already sunning on a beach towel or lounging by…

Going Out

Things to do in NYC this week: July…

Performing arts A 70’s Summer Night Friday, 6:30 p.m. The Green Building 452 Union St., Gowanus $35, 347-529-6473 Party like it’s summer in the 1970s…

Going Out

5 must-try dishes at Edible Manhattan's Good Beer

Rooting out the exotic amid the New York City bar scene is noble quest. But if you’d like to have it all come to you,…

Books

Art imitates life (almost) in David Shapiro's new…

David Shapiro talks about his book, "You're Not Much Use To Anyone."

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

MLB

Brandon McCarthy finds his calling on Twitter

Yankees starter Brandon McCarthy joined Twitter three year ago for the same reason many people do: to get news quickly.

Sports

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running…

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running game a boost

Food

Recharge with a post-workout smoothie from Nicky Hilton

Some people can roll out of bed right as their alarm goes off. And that alarm isn’t set for 20 minutes before they have to…

Education

Colleges are increasingly embracing the concept of gender-neutral…

  Northwestern University recently made headlines after announcing that it would be installing two gender-neutral bathrooms in the university's student center. “These are two gender-open…

Career

How to prepare to interview for your dream…

    Congratulations! You landed a job interview at your dream company! A lot of hard work has gone into determining which companies to apply…

Style

The shirtdress is a summer must-have

  We love throwing on our boyfriend’s shirt and a pair of jeans (no matter how much he grumbles that it’s his turn to wear the…