Free in Russia: Whistleblower Snowden Leaves Moscow Airport

A television screenshot shows Edward Snowden's new Russian travel document. Zoom
AP/dpa/Rossiya24

A television screenshot shows Edward Snowden's new Russian travel document.

Edward Snowden left a Moscow airport on Thursday after being granted temporary asylum in Russia. His attorney is declining to state his whereabouts, but the whistleblower has permission to stay for a year.

Edward Snowden officially entered into Russia on Thursday, with the prospect of staying in the country as a free man for up to a year. The whistleblower left Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on Thursday afternoon after spending more than a month in the transit area. After the United States invalidated his passport, he had to wait until he had obtained temporary travel documents from the Russian government before he could leave the airport.

In a brief interview, Snowden's lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told the Wall Street Journal his client had been given permission to stay in Russia for one year. "I already escorted him out of the airport into a taxi," the lawyer told the newspaper, although he declined to state his whereabouts.

Snowden gained attention around the world with his leak of documents exposing secret spying programs operated by the United States and other countries that monitor global Internet and telephone communications. He first fled to Hong Kong and later to Russia. The US government wants to try him for the betrayal of secrets and has repeatedly demanded that he be extradited.

Snowden submitted his official request for temporary asylum in Russia on July 16 in the transit area of Sheremetyevo airport to an employee of Russia's Federal Migration Service.

Snowden's Dad: 'I Would Stay in Russia'

On Wednesday, his father Lon Snowden recommended that his son stay in Russia. "I feel Russia has the strength and resolve and convictions to protect my son," he told Russian TV station Rossiya 24. "If it were me, I would stay in Russia and that's what I hope my son will do," he said, adding that he hopes to soon have the chance to visit him. Addressing his son, Lon Snowden said, "your family is well and we love you."

Snowden also expressed concerns about how his son might be handled by the justice system if he returned to the US. "The fact is, no assurances have been made that he will be given a fair trial," he told the station.

Lon Snowden also warned his son might face a fate similar to that of Bradley Manning, who was convicted by a military court this week of violating the Espionage Act by providing hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks. Manning "was stripped of his clothes, kept for 23 hours a day in solitary confinement, his glasses were removed," he said. "That was unacceptable. I just don't have a high level of trust in our justice system, not only because of what has happened to my son."

dsl -- with wires

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1. optional
peskyvera 08/01/2013
Good luck, Mr. Snowden. A word of friendly advice: watch your back at all times.
2. Thank you, Messrs. Snowden
Anntink 08/01/2013
Father and son, for your service to my country. I wish you both a long, happy life and peace.
3.
pilcher25 08/01/2013
The best news I am likely to read all week. The irony of a young American seeking safety in Russia is still mind-boggling. Keep well Edward Snowden.
4. The biggest loser in this mess is the USA, deservedly so
fung.pee 08/02/2013
The USA has lost face big time. What Russia did for Snowden, the USA has done for many others. The self-proclaimed handmaiden of Human Rights and Democracy has been shown to be totally hypocritical. Its officials have been proven to be liars. They treat American citizens worse than they do their real enemies. Even elected officials have been shown to be duplicitous and inept. Many in Congress knew what was happening but said little. Others were too lazy to read the Patriot Act. True, there were a few who pushed for the truth and lifted the curtain a centimetre or two but it was Snowden who tore the curtain aside and exposed the NSA for what it is. And Snowden, like Bin Laden, has caused the almighty US government to refocus its attention on what really matters. Now Germany has an opportunity to address the excesses of the Merkel regime. Let's hope it is not a missed opportunity.
5. optional
spon-facebook-10000367978 08/02/2013
The Russian government is not much better than USA but snowden had to choose prison in USA or just leaving the NSA silently or following his conviction.He followed his conviction thank God, Well done Edward Snowden for exposing the wickedness taking place behind closed doors in Government More of the same for the world to see the Evil anti Christ Spirit at work.
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