Russia has no legal grounds to extradite Snowden - official

Russia does not have legal grounds for extraditing former CIA employee Edward Snowden to the United States, Federal Migration Service Public Council head Vladimir Volokh stated.

Russia does not have legal grounds for extraditing former CIA employee Edward Snowden to the United States, Federal Migration Service Public Council head Vladimir Volokh stated.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul wrote on Twitter earlier that the United States had asked Russia simply for Snowden's return home but did not file an extradition request.

"There are no legal grounds for returning Snowden to the Americans. The transfer of Snowden to the United States would contradict every international legal norm," said Volokh, former deputy head of the Federal Migration Service.

He noted that Russia was unable to transfer Snowden to the United States because it was a member of the Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951. "The convention makes impossible the extradition of a person to the state where this person will be in danger," Volokh said.

Another reason why the transfer is impossible is the request of Snowden for temporary asylum in Russia, he added.

Snowden fled to Hong Kong in May 2013 and exposed U.S. covert online surveillance operations. He is currently staying in the transit zone of the Sheremetyevo airport.

The United States is seeking the extradition of Snowden to charge him with a leak of classified data.

Russia has received a former temporary asylum request from Snowden.

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