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Edward Snowden seeks to extend stay in Russia

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has filed papers asking Russian authorities to extend his asylum for another year, his lawyer said Wednesday.

“The procedure is very simple if a citizen of any country would like to stay and live in Russia,” lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told the Russian-based news service RT. “In this case we are talking about Snowden, so we have fulfilled the procedure to receive temporary asylum,” Kucherena said Wednesday.

Snowden, whose asylum expires July 31, was a contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton when he leaked details of U.S. surveillance programs to The Guardian and The Washington Post. The first report was published in June 2013, setting off an immediate firestorm. Snowden, who was in hiding in Hong Kong at the time, fled to Moscow where he obtained temporary asylum.

Kucherena did not say if Snowden would seek his permit with a different status such as citizenship, RT reported.

“The decision lies with the Federal Migration Service,” Kucherena told RT when asked what status they would like to get.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Russia was not “protecting” Snowden, but that Russia had no legal basis to extradite him.

Snowden has expressed interest in returning to the United States, but fears charges of espionage and theft of government property could result in a lengthy prison sentence.

Source: John Bacon, USA TODAY

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