Lawyer: Snowden can stay 3 more years
Former National Security Agency (NSA) systems analyst Edward Snowden, who is wanted by the United States (US). for leaking details about once-secret surveillance programs, has been granted permission to stay in Russia for three more years, his lawyer said Thursday.
Snowden last year was granted temporary asylum of one year in Russia, but that expired on August 1.
His lawyer, Analtoly Kucherena, was quoted by Russian news agencies 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, without specifying if Snowden is seeking it. He faces espionage charges in the US that carry a sentence of up to 30 years, but Russia has no extradition treaty with Washington.
Snowden was stranded in a Moscow airport last year en route from Hong Kong to Cuba, shortly after he released extensive documentation about NSA'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 a significant contributor to the tensions between Russia and the US.