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Russia Grants Snowden's Father Visa to Visit Son - Report

RIA Novosti

21:30 11/08/2013

MOSCOW, August 11 (RIA Novosti) – Lon Snowden, the father of fugitive US intelligence expert Edward Snowden, has been granted a visa by Russian authorities and will travel to Russia to meet his son within weeks, according to a Sunday report on US television channel ABC.

"We have visas, we have a date," Lon Snowden's attorney Bruce Fein said during an interview on ABC News, according to a transcript posted online. The meeting will take place in the 'next week,' he added.

Edward Snowden, 30, was granted asylum by Russia on August 1 after reportedly spending more than a month living inside the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.

Both Lon Snowden and Bruce Fein told ABC News that they had not had any direct contact with Edward Snowden since he fled the United States after revealing details of secret state surveillance programs, but that they had been in touch with Anatoly Kucherena, Edward Snowden's Russian attorney.

"Anatoly has said he's safe," said Fein, according to ABC News. "He obviously is exhausted. But he's now needing a period of time where he can recoup his energy level and reflect on what he wishes to do going forward."

Fein told RIA Novosti last week that Lon Snowden had arranged to make his visit to Russia by August 17. The whereabouts of Edward Snowden in Russia is unknown, and Kuchenara has said that it will not be revealed because of security concerns.

Lon Snowden said Sunday that, ultimately, he wants his son to have the chance to return to the United States.

"Where my son chooses to live the rest of his life is going to be his decision. What I would like at some point in time is for him to be able to come back to the United States," he said, ABC reported. But he added that statements by US officials in recent weeks had reduced his son's chances of receiving a fair trial. "They have poisoned the well, so to speak, in terms of a potential jury pool," he said.

Washington has strongly condemned the decision to give Snowden temporary asylum, and has called on Moscow to send him back to the United States, where he is wanted on espionage charges. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said repeatedly that Russia will not extradite Snowden.

Last week US President Barack Obama cancelled a summit in the Russian capital with Putin scheduled for September, citing lack of prospects for progress in the bilateral agenda as well as Moscow's harboring of Edward Snowden.

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