Russia is expected to renew former National Security Agency contractor and leaker Edward Snowden’s request for extended asylum because “his life is endangered,” according to a Russian government official.
“I see no problem in prolonging the temporary asylum,” Vladimir Volokh, head of an advisory body to Russia’s Federal Migration Service told the Interfax news agency Friday, according to Reuters. “The circumstances have not changed. As before, Snowden’s life is endangered so the FMS has grounds to extend his status.”
Snowden was granted one year of asylum on Aug. 1, 2013 after leaking a cache of classified NSA intelligence documents to reporters, flying out of Hong Kong and landing Russia. After identifying Snowden as the leaker, the U.S. State Department canceled his passport, stranding him in Moscow.
The former contractor’s presence in Russia has exacerbated U.S.-Russia tensions, as the Justice Department has filed charges against Snowden for espionage and would like to try him at home. Snowden has himself stated on numerous occasions he would like to return, but does not believe he would receive a fair and open trial. (RELATED: Pentagon Papers Leaker Daniel Ellsberg Defends Edward Snowden On Reddit)
Neither Snowden’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, nor the FMS have released a comment confirming or denying Snowden’s extended asylum status.