Russia grants Edward Snowden permanent residency; not considering citizenship application, says lawyer

Snowden, who has occasionally criticised Moscow's policies, said that he was willing to return to the US if he's guaranteed a fair trial

The Associated Press October 23, 2020 08:58:28 IST
Russia grants Edward Snowden permanent residency; not considering citizenship application, says lawyer

File image of Edward Snowden. AP

Moscow: Former US security contractor Edward Snowden has been granted permanent residency in Russia, his lawyer said Thursday.

Snowden, a former contractor with the US National Security Agency, has been living in Russia since 2013 to escape prosecution in the US after leaking classified documents detailing government surveillance programs.

“Today, Snowden was handed a residency permit for an unlimited period of time,” his Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told Russia's state Tass news agency.

Kucherena told the Interfax news agency that the application was submitted in April, but because of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions, it took immigration authorities more time to consider it. Snowden was able to obtain permanent residency rights because of the changes in Russia's immigration laws made in 2019, the lawyer said.

Kucherena added that Snowden is not considering applying for Russian citizenship at the moment.

Snowden, who has kept a low profile in Russia and occasionally criticised Russian government policies on social media, said last year that he was willing to return to the US if he's guaranteed a fair trial.

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