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Snowden granted 1 year's temporary asylum in Russia

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-08-02 07:42

MOSCOW - Fleeing US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden has received temporary asylum in Russia for one year, and has moved to a safe place, a lawyer assisting him said Thursday.

Snowden granted 1 year's temporary asylum in Russia

A picture of fugitive former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden in his new refugee documents granted by Russia in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport August 1, 2013, is seen in this still image taken from a video filmed by Rossiya 24 TV Channel.[Photo/Agencies]

"I have just delivered documents to him from the Russian Federal Migrant Service (FMS)," the Interfax news agency quoted Anatoly Kucherena as saying.

Kucherena said the documents allowed Snowden to move freely within Russia and the former intelligence contractor had left the transit zone for a location that would not be disclosed.

"I hope you will treat this vague information with understanding ... the safety issue is a very serious one for him," the lawyer said.

The FMS confirmed the granting later in the day.

"One of the district subdivisions of the Federal Migration Service Department for the Moscow region has decided to grant Mr. Snowden the status of temporary asylum," FMS spokesperson Zalina Kornilova told local media, adding the Snowden case was nothing special.

"I emphasize that this is not a unique case, so, over a thousand people applied to district subdivisions in 2013 alone, so far," Kornilova said.

Snowden's whereabouts after leaving the transit zone remain a mystery. According to Kucherena, Snowden would choose where he lived. "He can either live in a hotel or rent a flat," Kucherena said.

Currently, Snowden had no "immediate plan" to fly to Latin America, Kucherena said, adding the former US spy agency contractor would stay in touch with his family.

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