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No Asylum Application from Snowden – Russian Migration Officials

RIA Novosti

22:34 13/07/2013

MOSCOW, July 13 (RIA Novosti) – Russian immigration officials pledged to consider an asylum application from CIA leaker Edward Snowden – as soon as they get one.

Snowden, who is wanted by Washington on charges of espionage and property theft after he leaked details of secret state surveillance programs, has been holed up in a transit zone at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport since his arrival on a June 23 flight from Hong Kong.

During a meeting with a dozen prominent Russian lawyers and rights activists at the airport on Friday, Snowden announced plans to ask for temporary asylum in Russia hoping to arrange an eventual safe passage to Latin America.

But the Federal Migration Service has not received any formal request regarding Snowden's asylum, the agency's spokeswoman said Saturday.

"Snowden's documents have not been submitted," Zalina Kornilova said. "In case we get them the consideration procedure will go on in accordance with the current legislation."

Snowden's US passport has been invalidated as part of Washington's effort to return him to the United States to stand trial on charges of espionage and property theft after leaking details of secret state surveillance programs.

President Putin said last month that Moscow would consider granting Snowden asylum under the condition that he stop his work aimed at "damaging our American partners," an option Snowden initially rejected, but apparently accepted after failing to secure safe passage to Latin American countries that offered him asylum - Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Snowden has submitted over 20 asylum applications to countries across the world, but the three Latin American states have been the only ones prepared to offer him refuge. None of them, however, has been willing to grant him asylum while he is not on their territory.

Earlier this month, Anna Chapman, the red-haired Russian secret agent expelled from the United States in 2010, proposed marriage to the 30-year-old former contractor with the US National Security Agency and asked jokingly whether the agency will 'look after' their children.

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