NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia, agencies are reporting on Tuesday.
Lawyer Anatoly Kucherena met with Snowden in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, where he gave him legal advice.
Snowden "reached the conclusion that he needs to write an application for temporary asylum, and this procedure has just been done," said Kucherena.
Kucherena, a lawyer with a Kremlin advisory body, told the state-run news agency RIA Novosti that Snowden wrote the request in his presence and then gave it to a Federal Migration Service representative at the airport.
— RT (@RT_com) July 16, 2013
Snowden's application said he needed the asylum because "he faces persecution by the U.S. government and he fears for his life and safety, fears that he could be subjected to torture and capital punishment," Kucherena told Rossiya 24 television.
A Federal Migration Service spokesperson said that Snowden's application would be reviewed within three months, RT reports. If approved, the temporary asylum would allow Snowden to be in Russia for a year, with the option of renewing the asylum every year.
A spokesperson for Russia's President Vladimir Putin said that the decision to grant the asylum rests not with the president but with the Federal Migration Service.
Democracy Now! reported Tuesday that
Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously said Snowden must abandon work harmful to the United States in order to stay. On Monday, Putin accused the United States of trapping Snowden in Russia.
President Vladimir Putin: "He arrived on our territory without an invitation. We didn’t invite him. And he was not flying to us – he was flying in transit to other countries. But as soon as he got in the air it became known, and our American partners, actually, blocked his further flight. They themselves scared other countries."
While Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia have offered to grant Snowden asylum, the whistleblower remains stuck in the Moscow airport because he lacks asylum documents, and the U.S. revoked his passport.
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