Snowden does not rule out Russian citizenship: lawyer

17th July 2013, Comments 0 comments

US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, who has applied for temporary asylum in Russia, does not rule out applying to become a citizen, a lawyer assisting him said on Wednesday.

"He does not rule out the possibility of asking for Russian citizenship," said prominent lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, who helped Snowden put together his asylum bid on Tuesday.

"He told me: 'I am not going to go anywhere'," said Kucherena, adding Snowden planned to stay in Russia for now.

Kucherena suggested that Snowden would soon be able to leave the transit zone of Sheremetyevo airport where he has been marooned for the past three weeks since arriving from Hong Kong on June 23.

"The process of applying for temporary asylum is rather simple," he said.

"He turns to the Federal Migration Service (FMS) and the FMS will give him a certificate within the next seven days that his documents have been accepted."

With the official certificate that an asylum application would grant him, Snowden will be able to leave the airport and move around freely, he said.

Snowden submitted his application for temporary asylum from the airport's transit zone on Tuesday.

"He asked me to continue helping him," Kucherena said, adding he would assist the world's most famous fugitive free of charge.

He added he would be happy to show Snowden the sights of Moscow, including famous landmarks such as Red Square, Lenin's Mausoleum and the Tretyakov Gallery.

Kucherena was one of several activists and lawyers who met Snowden Friday for a meeting in Sheremetyevo airport. The American called him afterwards for advice on his bid to seek asylum in Russia.

Kucherena said Snowden looked "lively" and smiled at his jokes but added that the last two times he had seen him Snowden had "felt down."

© 2013 AFP

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