Edward Snowden by videoconference, December 4, 2019. -
Erik SIMANDER / TT NEWS AGENCY / AFP
Edward Snowden announced on Monday that he had applied for Russian nationality.
The former American intelligence consultant and whistleblower, wanted by the United States where he faces 30 years in prison, has been a refugee in Russia since 2013.
At 37, Snowden explained on Twitter that he asked to keep his American nationality, which is now possible since a recent change in Russian citizenship and immigration law.
This request comes a few days after his partner Lindsay Mills announced she was pregnant.
“After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no intention of being separated from our son,” he explained on Twitter.
After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our son.
That's why, in this era of pandemics and closed borders, we're applying for dual US-Russian citizenship.
- Edward Snowden (@Snowden) November 1, 2020
His residence permit extended indefinitely
Edward Snowden also explained that he and his wife wanted to "stay American" and raise their son according to "all of the American values we love, including free speech."
The lawyer for the former employee of the US National Security Agency (NSA), Anatoli Koutcherena, explained on October 22 that his residence permit had been extended for an indefinite period and clarified that this had been made possible thanks to to these recent changes to Russian immigration law.
Edward Snowden had previously benefited from a first asylum right of one year, then a three-year residence permit, extended in 2017.
Revelations in 2013
The former consultant had left the United States after having transmitted to the press tens of thousands of documents proving the extent of the activities of the NSA, and demonstrating the extent of electronic surveillance exercised by Washington.
These revelations had then caused very strong tensions between the United States and its allies and the decision of the Russian authorities to grant him a residence permit had angered Washington.
In August, US President Donald Trump said he would "take a look" at a possible pardon from Edward Snowden, charged with "espionage" in his country and who faces up to 30 years in prison.
Edward Snowden, deprived of his American passport at Washington's request, ended up in Moscow in May 2013 after arriving there from Hong Kong and intending to seek refuge in Latin America.
He eventually found himself stranded in Russia, where he was granted asylum.
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