BREAKING NEWS
This content is not available in your region

Edward Snowden granted permanent residency in Russia, his lawyer confirms

Access to the comments Comments
In this Oct. 11, 2013 file image made from video and released by WikiLeaks, former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden speaks in Moscow.
In this Oct. 11, 2013 file image made from video and released by WikiLeaks, former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden speaks in Moscow.   -   Copyright  AP Photo
Text size Aa Aa

Former U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden has been granted permanent residency in Russia, his lawyer said Thursday.

Snowden, a former contractor with the U.S. National Security Agency, has been living in Russia since 2013 to escape prosecution in the U.S. after leaking classified documents detailing government surveillance programs.

"Today, Snowden was handed a residency permit for an unlimited period of time," his Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told Russia's state Tass news agency.

Kucherena told the Interfax news agency that the application was submitted in April, but because of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions, it took immigration authorities more time to consider it. Snowden was able to obtain permanent residency rights because of the changes in Russia's immigration laws made in 2019, the lawyer said.

Kucherena added that Snowden is not considering applying for Russian citizenship at the moment.

Snowden, who has kept a low profile in Russia and occasionally criticized Russian government policies on social media, said last year that he was willing to return to the U.S. if he's guaranteed a fair trial.