Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, on the run since leaking classified documents, was granted a one-year asylum in Russia and has left Moscow airport, where he was stranded for more than a month, his lawyer said Thursday.
Fugitive former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden thanked the Russian authorities on Thursday after Moscow granted him asylum for one year, allowing him to leave the transit area of Sheremetyevo Airport where he had been hiding out for more than a month.
The United States is seeking Snowden’s extradition on espionage charges for leaking the details of secret government surveillance programmes to Britain’s “The Guardian” newspaper.
In a statement released by the WikiLeaks website seen by AFP, Snowden accused the US government of showing "no respect" for international law.
"Over the past eight weeks we have seen the Obama administration show no respect for international or domestic law, but in the end the law is winning," Snowden said in his first public remarks since leaving the airport.
A lawyer for Snowden earlier said Snowden was taking his security very seriously.
“He has left for a secure location ... Security is a very serious matter for him,” lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told Russian state TV.
President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the US extradition request and said that Snowden could receive asylum in Russia, but on the condition that he stops leaking confidential US information.
Kucherena said Snowden had accepted Putin’s terms.
Snowden, 30, arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23. Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia have offered him asylum but the logistics of seeking refuge in those countries has been complicated by the fact that his US travel documents have been revoked.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)
Date created : 2013-08-01