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Snowden’s father says he has Russian entry visa

August 11, 2013, 18:08 UTC+3

Lon Snowden said a Russian visa had been issued to him but he did not say when he was planning to fly to Russia to see his son

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NEW YORK, August 11 (Itar-Tass) - The father of the former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, who leaked details of the government's massive Internet- and phone-tracking programs, said on Sunday he had received a Russian visa.

Appearing on the ABC television channel, Lon Snowden and his attorney Bruce Fein said they had received Russian visas but they did not say when they was planning to fly to Russia. Fein said it would happen “very soon.”

Lon Snowden and his attorney Bruce Fein said that neither of them had spoken directly with the former NSA analyst since he fled the United States and received asylum in Russia. But they said they looked forward to meeting with Edward Snowden to consider options for him to return to the United States at some point. Fein said the family was willing to discuss conditions under which Edward Snowden might return to the United States and perhaps face criminal proceedings. Fein added that he planned to "suggest criminal defense attorneys who've got experience with criminal Espionage Act prosecutions" when he met with Snowden.

"Where my son chooses to live the rest of his life is going to be his decision,” Lon Snowden said. “But I would like at some point in time for him to be able to come back to the U.S."

"As a father, I want my son to come home if I believe that the justice system ... is going to be applied correctly," Lon Snowden said. But the elder Snowden said he was not convinced his son would get a fair hearing in court, given what he called "absolutely irresponsible" descriptions of his son's actions from President Barack Obama, his administration and top lawmakers from both parties. "They have poisoned the well, so to speak, in terms of a potential jury pool," he noted.

Earlier this week, U.S. President Barack Obama said Edward Snowden was not a patriot for revealing widespread government surveillance programs. He said the man should appear in court to defend his views.

Edward Snowden, 30, was accused in the U.S. of leaking information on the National Security Agency’s programs of electronic eavesdropping. He received temporary asylum in Russia after spending more than a month in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo airport.

U.S. authorities claim that Snowden encroached on two clauses of the 1917 law on espionage by making public without authorization some secret data pertaining to national defense and by purportedly transferring U.S. intelligence data the individuals who had no powers for possession of such data.

In addition, Snowden Jr. is charged with stealing the property of U.S. government. He is facing a grim prospect of ten years in jail on each of the three charges if he turns up on American soil one day.

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