by Lady Michelle-Jennifer Santos, Chief Visionary Founder & Owner
Russia’s Federal Migration Service (FMS) has issued a document to allow Snowden to leave Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport after one month of stay, Russian reports say. FMS is the agency that has been processing Snowden’s application, not the Kremlin.
He could leave the airport’s “sterile zone” in the next few hours, a source close to events told Russia’s Interfax news agency.
The American will be provided with new clothing, the source added.
Snowden cannot fly out of Moscow because his U.S. passport has been revoked. The source added that the Russian document would be handed to Snowden by Russian Lawyer Anatoly Kucherena.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking about the activity of ex-CIA officer Edward Snowden and the U.S. reaction to the situation, said that “interstate relations are more important that a dirty tattle on special services.”
“We have our own tasks of developing Russian-U.S. relations. We will not act like other countries do. We are an independent country and our foreign policy is independent,” Putin said.
“We warned Snowden that any activity that damages Russian-U.S. relations is unacceptable for us,” Putin said answering a question from Interfax.
Discussing Snowden’s future intentions, the Russian president pointed out that Snowden had chosen his path independently. “As far as I understand, Snowden did not set the goal of spending his whole life in Russia. I cannot understand how a young man can choose this, but this is his choice,” Putin said.
According to Public Chamber member Anatoly Kucherena, who talked to Snowden and helped him fill out his asylum application, Snowden reiterated in his request that his life is under threat and that he fears torture and persecution in the U.S.
“He wrote that he fears for his life and security, and that he could be subjected to torture or face the death penalty,” Kucherena said in an interview aired on the Russian TV channel Rossiya 24 on Tuesday.
He said Snowden gave this particular answer when questioned by a Federal Migration Service official.
Kucherena added that Snowden promised to him that he would not engage in anti-American activities, if his application for temporary asylum were satisfied.
“I put a direct question to him: Will you meet the condition for asylum that the Russian president has set for you? To this he answered: I will meet this condition,” Kucherena told Interfax.
At the same time, Kucherena also unveiled some new details concerning Snowden’s original plans to disclose regarding electronic surveillance methods used by U.S. special services.
“Snowden told me that he decided to unmask the special services and started preparing for this a year ago,” Kucherena said.
In his opinion Snowden is “ideologically motivated” and is a true human rights defender.
According to the head of the Russian State Duma foreign affairs committee Alexei Pushkov, by providing shelter to Snowden Russia is joining the list of countries advocating human rights and this improve its image at an international level.
“Providing refuge to Snowden will have a positive influence on Russia’s image. This will show that Russia has joined the human rights protection [activity] at the international level,” Pushkov said.
Snowden won’t be extradited
There is every indication that his request will be granted in Russia because he qualifies under the Geneva Convention and asylum rules, but most importantly, he won’t get extradited for many obvious and not so obvious reasons.
Russia does not have legal grounds for extraditing former CIA employee Edward Snowden to the United States, Federal Migration Service Public Council head Vladimir Volokh stated.
U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul wrote on Twitter earlier that the United States had asked Russia simply for Snowden’s return home but did not file an extradition request.
“There are no legal grounds for returning Snowden to the Americans. The transfer of Snowden to the United States would contradict every international legal norm,” said Volokh, former deputy head of the Federal Migration Service.
He noted that Russia was unable to transfer Snowden to the United States because it was a member of the Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951. “The convention makes impossible the extradition of a person to the state where this person will be in danger,” Volokh said.
Furthermore, Russia will not do it anyway because US has given refuge to actual Russian criminals and refuse to hand them over to Russia for many years.
Another reason why the transfer is impossible is the request of Snowden for temporary asylum in Russia, he added.
The puzzling thing that many cannot understand is why Snowden has applied for temporary asylum rather than for refugee status. Both procedures are practically the same but refugee status provides greater opportunities. He has practically a 100 percent chance of receiving refugee status because he is in danger and his home country persecutes him for political reasons.
Earlier in June, Snowden leaked confidential information that showed the US National Security Agency (NSA) collects data of phone records and Internet communications of American citizens.
Washington says Snowden must be tried on espionage charges for disclosing government spying programs.
The United States has revoked Snowden’s passport, depriving him of the necessary documentation with which to travel.
According to some other documents provided by Snowden, the US has been also spying on EU offices in Washington DC, New York, and Brussels.
This report is part of the Edward Snowden, the Whistleblower Saga series.
Snowden Saga III: Forthcoming
Snowden Saga IV: Forthcoming
Snowden Saga VI:
Snowden Saga VII: