July 24, 2013
Russia’s Immigration Service may grant entry permission to NSA
whistleblower Edward Snowden, who has been stranded at a Moscow airport
since last month.
Snowden, who had been living in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo
Airport since the day he arrived from Hong Kong on June 23, applied for
temporary asylum in Russia last week.
His request followed weeks of searching for a way to leave the
country, which he intended to pass briefly on his way to another
destination and where he was stranded because the US revoked his travel
It usually takes the Russian immigration authorities up to seven days
for an initial assessment of an asylum request, according to Snowden’s
Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena. If they choose to proceed with the
process, Snowden would be issued provisional documents to that effect.
“When he gets those documents in his hands, he will be released
from his temporary home at Sheremetyevo Airport and will be able to go
freely about the Russian Federation,” explains RT’s Lindsay France, who is at the airport among the journalists waiting for the decision to be announced.
It can take up to three months to either grant or reject the asylum
request. If granted, temporary asylum would allow Snowden to remain in
Russia for one year and be renewed annually. If the request is rejected
by the Immigration Service, Snowden may appeal the decision in court.
Earlier Kucherena said Snowden may decide to become a permanent
resident in Russia rather than stay in the country seeking an
opportunity to get asylum elsewhere.