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Report: Progress, But Snowden Not Leaving Airport Just Yet

NSA whistleblower's lawyer brings strandesd US citizen fresh clothes, Dostoevksy, but no officials documents that would allow him to leave transit area

Jon Queally, staff writer

UPDATED: Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower and US citizen who has been stranded inside the international transit zone of the Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow for over a month, received some preliminary documents on Wednesday from his legal advisor, but does not yet have the proper paperwork from the Russian government that would allow him to leave the terminal, despite earlier reports indicating otherwise.

Snowden's Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, said the Russian immigration service is still reviewing the US citizen's asylum request, meaning this he would remain in the airport for the time being. He would not speculate on the exact length of time.

Kucherena, who specializes in human rights, talked to following his meeting with Snowden to explain the current situation and his meeting with the now famous US whistleblower:

Following reports early in the day that Snowden might be receiving documents permitting him to travel outside the airport caused a media stir, with reporters gathering at the terminal exit in anticipation of an appearance:

Citing an unnamed "airport official," the Reuters news agency reported that a lawyer "will hand him the papers" Wednesday afternoon and that these documents would allow Snowden "to leave the transit area."

As the Guardian reports, Snowden has said "he will request asylum in Russia until he is permitted to travel to Latin America. Venezuela has offered him political asylum but he remains unable to travel there without travel documents."

And as NPR's Corey Flintoff reported early in the day from Moscow, "if Snowden is allowed to leave the transit area, it could escalate tensions with the United States. That would free Snowden to visit the embassies of other countries that have offered him asylum. Some analysts have speculated that President Obama might cancel a planned visit to Moscow in September to show U.S. displeasure with such a move by Russia."


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