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Iran Press TV

Snowden granted 3 more years in Russia: Lawyer

Iran Press TV

Thu Aug 7, 2014 1:12PM GMT

American whistleblower Edward Snowden has been granted permission to stay in Russia for three more years, amid the worst US-Russian relations since the Cold War.

Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, revealed troves of top secret documents on the US government's surveillance activities last year.

The 31-year old analyst received temporary asylum of one year in Russia which ran out on August 1.

Snowden now has been granted residency for three more years, his Russian lawyer told reporters on Thursday, adding that his client had not received political asylum which would allow him to stay indefinitely.

"In the future, Edward himself will take a decision on whether to stay on [in Russia] on and get Russian citizenship or leave for the United States," Analtoly Kucherena was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying.

Snowden could apply for citizenship after living in Russia for five years.

The former NSA contractor was stranded in a Moscow airport last year while travelling from Hong Kong to Cuba, shortly after he disclosed the NSA's surveillance programs. He reportedly spent a month in the airport before receiving the temporary asylum.

Snowden is wanted in the United States on espionage charges, but Russia-- which does not have an extradition treaty with the US-- has refused to hand him over.

The case has been a significant contributor to simmering tensions between Moscow and Washington which have further heightened over the crisis in Ukraine.


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