This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Russian media says U.S. whistle-blower Edward Snowden has been granted permanent residency by the government.
News agencies TASS and RIA Novosti quoted Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, as saying on October 22 that his client had requested a three-year extension of the permit earlier this year before it expired in April 2020, but the procedure was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
He added that Snowden, at the moment, was not considering applying for a Russian passport.
Snowden was charged under the U.S. Espionage Act for leaking 1.5 million secret documents from the U.S. National Security Agency on government surveillance, prompting public debate about the legality of some of the agency’s programs, on privacy concerns, and about the United States snooping on its neighbors.
If convicted, Snowden faces up to 30 years in prison.
Snowden has been living in Russia since 2013 after revealing the documents.
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 had unsuccessfully applied for asylum in France in 2013 and several other countries.