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US whistle-blower Snowden will be father, child can be Russian citizen

Edward Snowden receives the Sam Adams award for Intelligence Integrity in Moscow, Oct. 9, 2013. (Wikimedia Commons/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Whistle-blower Edward Snowden will become a father by the end of the year and his child is eligible to be a citizen of Russia, where the U.S. citizen has been living since in 2013 after releasing details of the U.S. electronic-surveillance program.

Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, said on October 29 that his client and his wife, Lindsay Mills, were expecting the child’s birth sometime in late December.

He added that “at the moment, there is no information” about Snowden’s possible intention to become a Russian citizen. The infant is automatically eligible to receive Russian if neither parent claims the child’s citizenship in another country.

A week earlier, Kucherena said that Snowden, a former employee and subcontractor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), had obtained permanent residency in Russia.

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Snowden was charged under the U.S. Espionage Act for leaking some 1.5 million secret documents from the National Security Agency (NSA) on government surveillance, prompting public debate about the legality of some of the agency’s programs, as well as over privacy concerns and how the United States snoops on its citizens and neighbors.

If convicted in the United States, Snowden faces up to 30 years in prison.

Snowden fled the United States in 2013, traveling to Hong Kong and then to Russia, where he was stranded at a Moscow airport after the United States revoked his passport and he was later granted temporary asylum.

U.S. President Donald Trump said in August that he was considering a pardon for Snowden, while in September, the whistle-blower called on French President Emmanuel Macron to grant him asylum.

Snowden has previously stated that he was hoping to one day return home to the United States. Mills joined him in Russia in 2014 and they married in 2017.