MOSCOW, January 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Former analyst of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Edward Snowden will decide himself on extension of temporary asylum to him in Russia proceeding from a threat of criminal prosecution in the United States, his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told Itar-Tass on Friday.
“Most important for him is a matter of safety,” the lawyer noted, recalling that the U.S. National Security Agency and representatives of other U.S. structures stated about Snowden’s criminal prosecution.
With this in view Snowden may ask for extension of temporary asylum, if he decides to stay in Russia, Kucherena said. “Nothing will hamper him in Russian legislation to ask for extension of temporary asylum in Russia many times,” the lawyer added. The American was granted temporary asylum in Russia for a year on August 1, 2013.
Snowden, 30, who had leaked in the media the information about the global surveillance program being implemented by U.S. security services, fled to Russia in June 2013. He had spent more than a month in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged at an annual news conference on December 19 that Russian security services “do not work with Snowden in terms of questioning and investigation.”
The U.S. authorities charged Snowden with breach of two articles of the U.S. espionage law of 1917 for unauthorized disclosure of classified information that is related with national defense and deliberate leaking of U.S. intelligence information to people who do not have access to it. Meanwhile, he is accused of theft of U.S. government property. On each charge he faces up to 10 years in prison in the U.S.