Snowden applies for temporary asylum in Russia

Pro-Kremlin lawyer says NSA leaker to stay put in Moscow airport for now

Written by Press Trust Of India | Published: July 17, 2013 1:05 am

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden on Tuesday submitted a request for temporary asylum in Russia,his lawyer said,claiming he faces persecution from the US government and could face torture or death.

WikiLeaks,the secret-spilling site that has been advising Snowden,and Russia’s Federal Migration Service both confirmed the application request.

Anatoly Kucherena,a Russian lawyer who helped Snowden file an application for asylum in Russia earlier today,told AFP the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor was happy with his treatment at the airport.

“While all procedural questions are being decided,he will remain in the transit zone of the airport,” Kucherena told AFP in central Moscow when asked if Snowden would remain at Sheremetyevo airport until the asylum request was approved. He confirmed that the asylum procedure could take up to three months although a shorter period is theoretically possible.

Kucherena said he met Snowden at the airport Tuesday to file the asylum request,with a translator the only other person present. “He is satisfied with how he is being treated by the employees of the airport,” he added,declining to say how Snowden’s security was being ensured at the airport.

Snowden argued in his application that “he faces persecution by the US government and he fears for his life and safety,fears that he could be subjected to torture and capital punishment”.

Kucherena was among a group of rights activists,pro-Kremlin lawmakers and lawyers who met Snowden at the airport on Friday where he indicated that he wanted to file for asylum in Russia. Snowden later called Kucherena asking for his help,the lawyer said.

“Right now he wants to stay in Russia. He has options. He has friends and a lot of supporters… I think everything will be ok,” said Kucherena. “If his request for asylum status is accepted,he has the same rights as you and me. There is no (other) way to resolve this situation.”

Plane delay: Spain says sorry to Bolivia President

LA PAZ: Spain apologised on Monday for its part in the events that led Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane to be delayed on July 3 during an international search for Edward Snowden. “We recognise publicly that perhaps the procedures used in the Vienna airport by our representative were not the most effective,” Spain’s ambassador to Bolivia,Angel Vázquez,said after dropping the letter off at Bolivia’s Foreign Ministry. “We regret this fact … the procedure was not appropriate and put the President in a difficult situation,” he said.

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