NSA leaker Edward Snowden has been granted asylum in Russia and has left the airport in Moscow in which he’d been staying.
For weeks, Snowden had been stuck in transit after an international game of hot potato left the wanted man with no country to call home. Several nations had openly considered, denied, offered and rescinded, or otherwise hedged on asylum for the fugitive leaker.
According to the Washington Post, Edward Snowden may now have a lengthy reprieve from facing any music in the US. The Wikileaks ally will be allowed a lengthy stay in Russia, one that could turn permanent under conditions that were not disclosed:
“Anatoly Kucherena, an attorney for Snowden, said documents were issued Thursday allowing Snowden to live and work in Russia for up to one year while his application for permanent political asylum is pending. Snowden, 30, had been stranded in Russia’s Sheremetyevo Airport for more than five weeks.”
Preparations are underway to arrange a meeting between Edward Snowden and dad Lon, who has both encouraged his son to return to the US, urged US authorities to view his son as a controversial patriot, and expressed concern that the government in the States would not be fair to the man who admitted exposing the entire NSA spying program.
The elder Snowden said:
“If he comes back to the United States, he is going to be treated horribly… He is going to be thrown into a hole. He is not going to be allowed to speak.”
Lon Snowden is likely in part basing his stance on the treatment of fellow leaker Bradley Manning, who was held for years without charges before his recent trial.
United States Secretary of State John F. Kerry condemned Russia’s tolerance of Snowden in their transit zone in June, saying:
“There are standards of behavior between sovereign nations. There is common law. There is respect for rule of law.”
Vladimir Putin has in the past said Edward Snowden could be considered for asylum in Russia, on the condition he not do anything else to potentially harm US national security.