Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency whistleblower, has been given permission to stay in Russia for three more years and will be allowed to travel abroad for three-month stints.
His Russian lawyer told reporters that Snowden, whose temporary asylum ran out on 1 August, has received a three-year residence permit.
“The decision on the application has been taken and therefore starting 1 August 2014 Edward Snowden has received a three-year residential permit,” said Anatoly Kucherena.
But the former NSA contractor has not been granted political asylum, which would have allowed him to stay in Russia permanently. However, Kucherena said Snowden would be able to extend his residency permit for a further three years when it runs out and after five years would be eligible to apply for Russian citizenship, but he did not know if Snowden intended to do so.
Snowden arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on a flight from Hong Kong on 23 June 2013 after identifying himself as the source of the Guardian’s revelations on the extensive US and British clandestine internet surveillance operations. Snowden, who was on his way to Cuba, spent five weeks in the transit area after the US cancelled his travel documents before being given temporary asylum in Russia.
The residency permit will allow Snowden for the first time to travel out of Russia, so long as he does not stay outside the country for more than three months at a time, Kucherena said. The lawyer said he could not say which country Snowden might visit.
Read more at The Guardian.