US Security Contractor Edward Snowden Granted Asylum By Russia, Leaves Transit Zone Of Moscow Airport, Crosses Into Russia

 @MikeObelm.obel@ibtimes.com on August 01 2013 8:19 AM

Former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has left the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport and crossed into Russia after the nation gave him a one-year asylum, Russia Today said on Thursday.

Snowden, 30, who's wanted in the U.S. on espionage charges for revealing classified information to antisecrecy group WikiLeaks, has been at the airport's transit zone for more than a month after arriving from Hong Kong. He's being accompanied by WikiLeaks' Sara Harrison, Britain's Guardian said.

"I have just handed over to him papers from the Russian Immigration Service," Snowden's legal representative Anatoly Kucherena said. "They are what he needs to leave the transit zone."

Kucherena said Snowden had left the airport on Thursday for a secure location, a day after his father, Lon Snowden, said the FBI had asked him to fly to Moscow and try to persuade his son to return to the U.S. and face charges, the U.K. Telegraph reports.

The U.S. has urged Russia to not grant Snowden asylum or refugee status so that it can try Snowden, who arrived in Moscow on June 23 on a flight from Hong Kong, on espionage charges. Since arriving in Moscow, Snowden has been seeking asylum in Venezuela and Ecuador, while the U.S. has been urging the Kremlin to turn him over for extradition to the U.S. Tensions between the two nations has increased over Russia's refusal to grant Washington's request. Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua all offered Snowden asylum but, since the U.S. revoked his passport he was precluded from taking advantage of the offers.

Bruce Fein, a lawyer for Lon Snowden, said there may be a way for Russia and the U.S. to agree on how to resolve the question of what to do with the younger Snowden, CNN reports.

"There may be a time, where it would be constructive to try and meet and see whether there can't be common ground that everyone agrees would advance the interest [of] the United States, Mr. Snowden, Lon, his father, and the interest of Russia in trying to resolve this in a way that honors due process and the highest principles of fairness and civilization," Fein said.

Fein also said he is arranging a trip for his client to visit Edward Snowden.

 

 

 

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