Former CIA employee Edward Snowden has sent a request for temporary asylum in Russia to the Russian Federal Migration Service, Russian Civic Chamber member, lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told Interfax on Tuesday.
"Because Snowden cannot leave the transit area of Sheremetyevo [airport], he completed all necessary forms, wrote a request and gave it to a Russian Federal Migration Service employee invited there for that purpose," Kucherena said.
The procedure of completing the appropriate forms and composing the request began on Tuesday at around 11 a.m., Kucherena said.
"I explained all the niceties of the procedure and legal requirements. Due to the fact that Snowden can not leave the transit area, it was decided that a Federal Migration Service employee would arrive there, to whom the request for temporary asylum could be given," the lawyer said.
In accordance with the law, foreign citizens, who were denied recognition as a refugee in Russia and who cannot be sent out of Russia, can be provided with temporary asylum.
"Temporary asylum is a kind of humanitarian status or delayed deportation. The applicant should file a relevant request with the Russian Federal Migration Service to receive temporary asylum," the Federal Migration Service website says.
When the request is accepted, the individual is provided with a certificate saying his request is being considered, which allows the applicant to stay in Russia while it is being considered. The request can be considered for a period of up to three months.
Temporary asylum is granted for one year and can be extended annually for an additional period of 12 months.
According to the information provided by the Federal Migration Service, 25,931 requests to be recognized as refugees were filed by foreign citizens and considered in 1997-2007. A total of 8,683 out of 25,931 foreigners were recognized as refugees.
Snowden fled to Hong Kong in May 2013 and then released information on secret operations of U.S. special services' surveillance activities on the Internet. Snowden went to Moscow after this and has been in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport since June 23. Snowden cannot fly out from Moscow because his U.S. passport has been revoked.
Snowden asked a number of countries for asylum. The United States is pursuing his extradition in order to charge him with releasing secret information.
On July 12, Snowden met with Russian human rights activists and asked for their assistance in granting a request for temporary asylum in Russia until he receives the necessary documents from Latin American countries enabling him to leave the country. Kucherena was among those who met with Snowden in Sheremetyevo.
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