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Iran Press TV

Snowden Russia asylum still under review

Iran Press TV

Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:1AM GMT

American whistleblower Edward Snowden should remain at Russia's Sheremetyevo International Airport for a little longer as his asylum plea is still under review by Russian immigration authorities, his lawyer says.

Anatoly Kucherena, who met Snowden in Moscow on Wednesday, said his client still has to stay at the transit zone, Russia Today reported.

Kucherena gave Snowden the certificate indicating that Russia's Federal Migration Service is still reviewing his political asylum request.

The 30-year-old submitted a request for temporary asylum in Russia on June 16. He is wanted in the United States for leaking classified data about the espionage activities of the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Snowden has been at the airport's transit area since arriving in Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23.

Washington has revoked the passport of Snowden, who is a former technical contractor for the NSA and a former employee of the CIA.

His lawyer arrived at the airport with a large paper bag, which was guessed to be a document that would permit Snowden to leave the transit zone.

However, he dismissed the rumor, saying, "The certificate is not a document, political asylum request maybe reviewed within three months."

The lawyer did not give a particular date when the documents would be issued, explaining that the reason behind the delay in issuing all the required documents for Snowden is the uniqueness of situation.

Meanwhile, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has warned Moscow against giving refuge to Snowden.

"I repeat my message to Russia that providing any refuge to Edward Snowden will be harmful to US-Russia relations," Menendez said in a statement sent to the Los Angeles Times.

Russian officials are resisting US calls to extradite the intelligence leaker.

Snowden leaked two top secret US government spying programs, under which the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.


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