As asylum expires, Snowden's expulsion from Russia unlikely
It's been a year since Russia granted former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden temporary asylum following his disclosure of classified NSA documents. On Thursday, Snowden's asylum status expired, reviving questions of whether he'll get the boot.
Well, most signs point to no. Snowden has submitted his request to the Russian government for an extension on his asylum.
According to RT, while a decision on that extension could come soon, Snowden's Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told reporters the former NSA contractor has a job and is studying Russian - some of the conditions for an extension to be granted.
Another member of Snowden's legal team had this to say on an Australian radio program:
From ABC (Australia) / "PM with Mark Colvin": "For now he is in the safest place that he can be, and Russia has indicated that it intends to plan on having him, allowing him to continue to stay."
That was in response to the German justice minister's suggestion that Snowden should return to the U.S. and face prosecution, adding that Snowden probably doesn't want to spend the rest of his life on the run.
Then there's the fact that very little has changed in terms of why Russia took Snowden in and why they decided to keep him over the past year. Journalist Glenn Greenwald explained to MSNBC:
"There's no legal basis to turn him over to the U.S. because the U.S. and the Russians don't have an extradition treaty. ... And secondly, that he faces persecution."
It seems the only way Snowden will return to the U.S. is on his own. Euronews points out Snowden has asked for amnesty from prosecution if he does find himself stateside. In an exclusive interview with NBC, Snowden told Brian Williams that there isn't any question that he'd like to return home.
As it stands now, Snowden faces espionage charges in the U.S., which could lead to prison time. Snowden's Russian attorney says the decision on his asylum extension could be made as soon as this week.