Official: not Snowden's usefulness but moral impermissibility of his expulsion is in question

Alexei Pushkov, the head of the State Duma committee on international affairs, has expressed the opinion that Russia's expulsion of former CIA employee Edward Snowden to the United States is impermissible, primarily for moral reasons.

"How Snowden can be useful to Russia is a question in the spirit of Smerdyakov [a character from Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel "The Brothers Karamazov"]. Not usefulness is in question, but principle. The expulsion of a political refugee is morally impermissible," Pushkov twitted on Sunday.

Earlier Pushkov called Snowden a dissident.

"Assange, Manning and Snowden were not spies and released secret information because of their convictions, not for money. They are new dissidents, fighters against the system," Pushkov said on Twitter on Wednesday.

Julian Assange, the founder WikiLeaks, has been hiding on the territory of the embassy of Ecuador in London for over a year.

U.S. Private Bradley Manning was arrested in May 2010 on suspicion of having provided to WikiLeaks a scandalous video of an attack on Reuter's journalists from a helicopter, which occurred near Bagdad in 2007

Snowden, who provided to the press information on secret surveillance programs of the U.S. special services, earlier asked for political asylum in Ecuador.

Snowden left the U.S. for Hong Kong in May and arrived in Moscow last Sunday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Snowden remains in the transit zone of the Moscow Sheremetyevo airport.

The U.S. demands that Russia extradite Snowden. The Russian authorities allege that he has not crossed the Russian border and therefore is not on the territory of Russia.

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