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Snowden has serious motives for seeking temporary asylum

July 17, 2013, 17:08 UTC+3

Snowden explained that he feared for his life and health and that he could be subject to torture, lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said

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MOSCOW, July 17 (Itar-Tass) - The former CIA employee Edward Snowden has serious motives, which do not allow Russia to deny him temporary asylum, lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, the head of the Public Chamber Commission, said on Wednesday.

"He can be denied an asylum. In that case, he will be able to appeal the decision in court. But the probability of that is low. Snowden’s motives make it impossible to turn down his request…Snowden explained that he feared for his life and health and that he could be subject to torture,” Kucherena emphasized.

“Edward Snowden will continue staying at Sheremetyevo airport’s transit zone if his asylum request is turned down,” Anatoly Kucherena added.

Snowden depressed

Kucherena also shared his impressions about his meeting with Edward Snowden whom he is contacting by telephone and e-mail. "He is depressed. We talked about his life and parents who are divorced. His mother works as a court registrar. He refused to answer a question about religion. But on the whole he produces an impression of being a normal person,” Kucherena said.

Snowden had worked for the CIA since 2006. “A year ago, he decided that he had to open the eyes to the world and tell it what the U.S. security services do,” the Russian lawyer went on to say.

Kucherena has pledged to continue giving free legal aid to Snowden.

"Snowden is ready to receive the World Passport as he has been promised, and I am ready to hand the document over to him, if it is issued,” Kucherena emphasized.

Earlier it has been reported that Snowden’s application for temporary asylum will be considered within up to three months, and in the meantime he will get a certificate giving him the right to stay in Russia. The head of the Russian Federal Migration Service, Konstantin Romodanovsky, has confirmed that the FMS received Snowden’s application for temporary asylum. “Yes, his application has been received,” he told Tass. “It will be considered within the timeframe established by law, namely within three months,” Romodanovsky said.

He also stressed this does not mean that “Snowden’s application will be considered within all these three months.” “Three months is the upper limit,” he specified.

What does temporary asylum in Russia means

The Migration Service’s website says “temporary asylum is a kind of a ‘humanitarian status’ or postponed expulsion”. “In case of a positive decision, the document granting temporary asylum on the territory of the Russian Federation is issued. A negative decision may be contested per standard procedure. Temporary asylum is granted for one year and may be extended yearly by 12 months,” the website says.

Under certain conditions, the person may lose or be stripped of temporary asylum. The Federal Migration Service has three temporary accommodation centres for people seeking asylum in Russia with a total capacity of 180 people.

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