As his lawyer said on Thursday, fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden has been awarded permanent residence in Russia.
After the disclosures, Snowden, the disgruntled US intelligence contractor who announced in 2013 that the US government was spying on his people, has been living in exile in Russia.
The 37-year-old has said that he needs to move back to the United States.
On Thursday, his counsel, Anatoly Kucherena, told AFP that his residence visa has been extended and is now permanent, a condition made possible by recent changes to Russia’s immigration laws.
Kucherena said the application was filed in April, but the coronavirus pandemic slowed the process.
Since he leaked documents revealing that members of the National Security Agency ( NSA) were gathering telephone data of millions of US people, Snowden is wanted in the United States on spying charges.
“When asked whether Snowden was intending to apply for Russian citizenship, Kucherena said:” The decision would be taken by himself.
Kucherena said it was “normal” for Snowden to want to return to the United States, but only when the case against him is closed can he do so.
U.S. President Donald Trump said earlier this year that he would “take a look” at pardoning Snowden, but did not elaborate on the matter further.
The White House denied a 2015 petition asking for then President Barack Obama to pardon the whistleblower and privacy defender.