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Snowden applies for temporary asylum in Russia

July 17, 2013, 11:35 UTC+3

An official of the Russian Federal Migration Service has confirmed the receipt of the application

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Now he will be able to move to the Federal Migration Service centre and then get a job and travel abroad, believes the Vedomosti newspaper.

Edward Snowden on Tuesday filed an application for temporary asylum in Russia. An official of the Russian Federal Migration Service (FMS) has confirmed the receipt of the application. The FMS now has three months to make a decision. Lawyer and member of the Russian Public Chamber Anatoly Kucherena, who helped Snowden to draw up the application, said that the ex-CIA employee does not intend to leave Russia. “Apparently, he has not yet made the final decision.”

In the view of Kucherena, Snowden’s request will be considered by the Federal Migration Service in two to three weeks. Chairman of the RF Presidential Human Rights Council Mikhail Fedotov and Director of Amnesty International Representative Office in Russia Sergei Nikitin on Tuesday called for granting the application.

In the view of deputy chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the State Duma lower house of parliament Leonid Kalashnikov, Russia should provide permanent asylum to Snowden. This, he believes, will induce respect for Russia.

Leading researcher of Heritage Foundation Ariel Cohen and Research Director of the Russian-German Forum Alexander Rahr told the Vedomosti newspaper about the positive effect for the image of Russia that in the case of Snowden will be able to show its Western critics that it respects human rights and freedoms. According to Cohen, the administration of US President Barack Obama has shown complete incompetence in the Snowden case, including failing to find good reasons for Russia to extradite Snowden to Washington.


Court allows first NGO not to register as foreign agent

The NGO Memorial has become the first organisation that has managed to challenge in court the requirement of the “Prosecutor’s Office to get registered as a foreign agent, the Kommersant daily writes on Wednesday. On Tuesday, the St. Petersburg City Court rejected a claim of the supervisory authority to the local branch of Memorial the employees of which have been accused of breaking the law on NGOs. According to human rights defenders, this precedent may affect the destiny of other organisations, against which similar accusations have been brought.

The St. Petersburg City Court dismissed the request of the Admiralty District Prosecutor’s Office on the re-examination of an administrative case against the Memorial anti-discrimination centre. The NGO Director, Stefaniya Kulayeva, told the Kommersant daily that the court actually upheld the decisions of the two previous instances - of the magistrates’ and district courts.

Within the framework of the mass checks of NGOs, which were launched in April, administrative proceedings over “violation of the order of activities of a non-profit organisation acting as a foreign agent” were instituted against the St. Petersburg branch of Memorial. According to the inspection materials, Memorial, receiving foreign funding, is engaged in political activity, and therefore should be registered in the registry of foreign agents. Moreover, the prosecutors said that the refusing to register organisation must put the “foreign agent” mark on all its public materials. The prosecutors saw a political action in the fact that the human rights defenders in March presented to the UN Committee against Torture a report entitled “Roma, Migrants, Activists: Victims of Police Abuse,” recalls the newspaper. The Memorial staff criticised in the report the Interior Ministry officers for pressure against these groups.

According to Kulayeva, the victory of Memorial can make a difference in judicial practice concerning cases of violation of the law by NGOs. “In fact, a clear signal was given to other courts: not everything one can wish can be recognised as political activities. I think it will help many of our colleagues, whom they are trying to prosecute for similar reports,” the human rights activist believes.


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