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Russia Extends Asylum Three Years for Edward Snowden

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Russian authorities have extended the residency permit of Edward Snowden the U.S. fugitive intelligence contractor for three additional years, said his lawyer on Thursday.

Snowden is wanted by authorities in the U.S. for leaking National Security Agency information about surveillance practices. He was stranded in June of 2013 in a Moscow airport transit lounge while attempting to reach Latin America.

Russian authorities eventually gave the American a permit for temporary asylum that was good for one-year and was set to expire August 1.

Snowden asked authorities in Russia in July to allow him to remain and he was finally granted his wish this week.

Snowden’s lawyer said his client received his three-year residency permit. Under the permit’s terms, Snowden is able to move around all of Russia and visit other countries for up to three months.

The document has an extension option of three years, but Snowden has still not been granted full political asylum that would give him the right to remain in Russian indefinitely.

In Russia, the only way for political asylum to be granted is through a presidential decree and is another procedure completely.

The decision by Russia to give Snowden refuge strained the country’s relations with the U.S.

Those fragile relations have been strained further by the annexation by Russia of Crimea and Russia’s support of separatists in Ukraine.

The European Union and the United States have imposed a number of sanctions against Russia, which on Wednesday retaliated by banning certain food and agricultural products from Europe and the U.S.

Snowden’s extradition has been sought by the U.S., but his lawyer said it has no legal grounds. His attorney says no crimes have been committed by Snowden and there are no accusations against him in Russia.

The whereabouts of Snowden in Russia have remained a secret since he was given a one-year permit to stay. He rarely is seen anywhere in public. His lawyer said Snowden was working in information technology and being protected by a private security company.

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