Wednesday, Apr 1, 2015Wednesday, Apr 1, 2015

Snowden receives three-year Russian residence permit: Lawyer

Published on Aug 7, 2014 6:23 PM

MOSCOW (REUTERS) -  Former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, wanted by the United States for leaking extensive secrets of its electronic surveillance programmes, has been given a three-year residence permit by Russia, his Russian lawyer told reporters on Thursday.  

The announcement comes at a time when Russia’s relations with the West are at Cold War-era lows over Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Russia responded to Western sanctions by banning certain food imports from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway on Thursday.

“The decision on the application has been taken and therefore, with effect from Aug. 1, 2014, Edward Snowden has received a three-year residential permit,” Anatoly Kucherena said. “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.”

He said Snowden could apply for citizenship after living in Russia for five years, in 2018, but that he had not decided whether he wanted to stay or leave.  Kucherena said Snowden was studying Russian and had an IT-related job, but did not provide details.

An undated handout photo received from Channel 4 on Dec 24, 2013 shows US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden preparing to make his television Christmas message. Former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has received a three-year residence permit from Russia, his Russian lawyer told reporters on Thursday. -- PHOTO: AFP
Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!