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Russia says Snowden’s Russian asylum could be extended in a week

Fugitive US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden could have his request to extend his asylum in Russia agreed within a week, a senior migration service representative said Friday.

“Snowden’s life is still in danger, so the Federal Migration Service has every basis to extend his status,” the head of the service’s public chamber, Vladimir Volokh, said Friday, quoted by the Interfax news agency.

“It can be dealt with in the course of a week,” said Volokh.

Snowden’s Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said Wednesday that he had already filed a formal request to extend Snowden’s one-year asylum beyond July 31.

Kucherena did not say for how long Snowden wanted to extend his stay, which status he was seeking or whether he wishes to become a Russian citizen.

Snowden has been in Russia since flying in from Hong King in June last year after shaking up America’s intelligence establishment with a series of leaks on mass surveillance in the United States and around the world.

He could not travel onwards however after his passport was revoked, and was holed up in the transit zone of a Moscow airport for weeks before Russia granted him a one-year refugee status.

Although he gradually increased his media visibility by giving several tightly-controlled interviews, his life in Russia is still a mystery and only a series of reported sightings seem to indicate that he remains somewhere in or around Moscow.

He had applied for asylum in other countries and has said he would like to go home, where he faces espionage charges that could lead to a lengthy prison term if he is convicted.