Snowden submits request for Asylum in Russia - Lawyer

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MOSCOW. July 16. KAZINFORM Fugitive former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has submitted an official request for temporary asylum in Russia, a lawyer who provided him with legal assistance said on Tuesday.

Prominent lawyer and Public Chamber member Anatoly Kucherena said that Snowden wrote the request "in my presence, as there were a lot of legal and judicial questions." Kucherena said he saw Snowden submit his appeal to a representative of the Federal Migration Service at Sheremetyevo Airport, where the US leaker has been holed up since arriving in Russia from Hong Kong on June 23.

Snowden needs temporary legal status in Russia in order to secure eventual passage to Latin American countries that have offered him asylum, RIA Novosti reports.

Snowden's US passport has been invalidated as part of Washington's effort to return him to the United States to stand trial on charges of espionage and property theft, after the former National Security Agency contractor revealed details of secret state surveillance programs.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last month that Moscow would consider granting Snowden asylum on the condition that he stop his work aimed at "damaging our American partners," an option Snowden initially rejected before changing his mind last week.

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