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Russian migration, law enforcement official see no grounds for extraditing Snowden

June 25, 2013, 4:29 UTC+3

Under Russian law, there must be a corresponding court verdict for the deportation

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MOSCOW, June 25 (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s Federal Migration Service and law enforcement agencies do not see any grounds for extraditing the former CIA technical analyst, Edward Snowden to the U.S.

Well-connected source say Snowden is staying in the transit lounge of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport where he arrived by an Aeroflot flight from Hong Kong June 23. A spokesman for the airport’s security service told Itar-Tass Snowden did not cross the Russian state border from the formal angle of view.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told a regular news briefing that the U.S. was urging the Russia side to consider all the possible options of deporting Snowden to his homeland where he should stand trial for the criminal offenses he committed.

Sources in Moscow told Itar-Tass in the meantime that, in line with the deportation procedure adopted in Russia, the Federal Migration Service is due to request a court ruling on deporting a foreign citizen for encroachments on migration laws.

“Since no violations of Russia’s migration laws by Snowden have been established, we don’t have claims against him,” a source at the service said.

An official at the law enforcement agencies who asked to withhold his name recalled that Russia and the U.S. do not have any bilateral agreements on the exchanges of people accused or suspected of crime in the opposite country and sometimes they use the deportations mechanisms instead.

“In part, in more or less recently years the U.S. deported /to Russia/ several people who had been placed on the lists of wanted criminals here and had broken the American migration laws,” he said.

On one such occasion, the Americans deported a high-profile leader of the criminal underworld /the so-called ‘thief in law’/ Vyacheslav Ivankov, who was broadly known in Russia as the Little Jap. He was deported in 2005 after serving a jail term in the U.S.

“Russia has made proposals to Washington to sign an extradition agreement on many occasions but it hasn’t been drafted to date,” the official said.

The last time the U.S. and Russia /the then Russian Empire with the Emperor Alexander III on the throne/ signed a convention on the handover of criminal was in 1887 and “the American side believes that agreement doesn’t have any legal effect anymore.”

That is why deportation mechanisms are invoked at present “but they apply only to the individuals who have committed conventional crimes, the official said.

One more expert at the agencies of law and order said neither the Interior nor prosecutorial agencies have grounds for detaining Snowden.

“He isn’t found on the international wanted lists, and his presence there might provide grounds for this detention, and he didn’t commit any offenses on the Russian territory,” the expert said. “More than that, Snowden didn’t cross the Russia border formally.”

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