begin a court battle if the country’s migration service denies his
asylum plea, Anatoly Kucherena, a Russian lawyer who assists the
whistleblower, told Source.
a positive decision [on the asylum plea],” Kucherena said.
“We must understand that security is the number one issue in
his case. I think the process of adaptation will take some time.
It’s an understandable process as he doesn’t know the Russian
language, our customs, and our laws.”
“He’s planning to arrange his life here. He plans to get a
job. And, I think, that all his further decisions will be made
considering the situation he found himself in,” he
Kucherena expressed hope that the whistleblower’s plea will be
granted, because the reasons which prompted Snowden ask for
political asylum in Russia “deserve attention.”
“He fears for his health and his life. He’s afraid that if
he’ll be handed to the US, torture can be used against him down
to death penalty,” he said.
“He intends to do so,” the attorney stressed. “During
our meeting, our dialogues, and our consultations, he made
detailed inquiries on those procedures. And I informed him of
what possibilities he has according to Russian law.”
Snowden still remains holed up in the international transit zone
of the Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. His asylum plea, which was
filed on July 16, has not been yet formalized by migration
“According to the existing practice, it may take five, seven,
or eight days. I’m calling them on a daily basis. They tell me
that they’re about to finish the formalization,” Kucherena
asylum application is being reviewed. Once this document is
received, Snowden will be allowed to leave the airport where he
has spent an entire month.
“There are no travel restrictions. Therefore, receiving the
paper will give him an opportunity to leave the transit zone of
the Sheremetyevo airport and choose a place of residence – rent a
hotel or a flat. [He can] live in any place within the Russian
federation,” Kucherena explained.
According to the lawyer, consideration of the plea will then take
up to three months. If his request is approved, Snowden will
receive a certificate which will “guarantee him the same
rights and freedoms possessed by the citizens of the Russian
“The temporary asylum is given on a one-year term. After it
expires, the term can be prolonged for another year and this can
be repeated an indefinite number of times afterwards,” he
Snowden arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23 after
revealing secret NSA government surveillance programs to the
The 30-year-old whistleblower is wanted in the US on charges of
espionage and theft of government property.
Several Latin American states have offered him asylum, but the
whistleblower believes it is unsafe for him to leave Russia
following the July 2 incident in which the Bolivian president’s
plane was grounded on suspicion that Snowden was aboard the