Reports: Snowden can leave Moscow airport

11:09 AM, Jul 24, 2013   |    comments
Edward Snowden speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. (The Guardian via Getty Images)
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MOSCOW -- NSA leaker Edward Snowden has received a Russian immigration document and is expected to leave Moscow airport Wednesday while officials consider his application for permanent political asylum.

"The American is currently getting ready to leave. He will be given new clothes," the Interfax news agency reports, citing a source familiar with the case.

The 30-year-old former defense contractor, who fled first to Hong Kong and then Russia, has been holed up in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo airport since June 23.

He faces U.S. charges under the Espionage Act for leaking information to reporters about the National Security Agency's surveillance and data-gathering network. Snowden has said he took the step to "correct this wrongdoing."

Snowden's Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, arrived at the airport Wednesday afternoon carrying a large paper bag, apparently containing clothes for Snowden, RT.com reported.

Snowden received a document from the Federal Migration Service when he applied for asylum that allows him to leave the airport transit area "as long as there are no objections from the border patrol," RIA Novosti reported, citing an unidentified law enforcement source as saying.

Russia's Border Guard Service, a division of the Federal Security Service, will allow Snowden to leave the transit area once it receives documents from the FMS, the news agency reported.

Snowden, aided by Kucherena, applied for temporary asylum in Russia on July 16. A final decision on his request for political asylum is expected to take at least three months.

Snowden, whose U.S. passport has been revoked, has been offered asylum in Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua but has found difficult to travel to those countries.

Kucherena, told RT.com earlier Wednesday that Snowden may decide to become a permanent resident in Russia rather than stay in the country seeking an opportunity to get asylum elsewhere.

"He's planning to arrange his life here. He plans to get a job. And, I think, that all his further decisions will be made considering the situation he found himself in," the lawyer told RT.com.

(USA Today)

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