Russian laws do not limit the time for which former CIA employee Edward Snowden may stay at the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, and he bears no liability for the absence of documents, the Russian Justice Ministry said.
"Russian law does not stipulate the duration of time for which a foreign citizen may stay in the airport's transit zone or liability for staying for a long time in an airport's transit zone without documents," the ministry said in a statement on Saturday in reply to a question as to how long Snowden may stay at the airport.
The American authorities are ready to issue a temporary passport to Edward Snowden, and this will help him to return home and face justice, Attorney General Eric Holder says in his letter to Alexander Konovalov, the Russian Justice Minister.
Holder also said that "we understand from press reports and prior conversations between our governments that Mr. Snowden believes that he is unable to travel out of Russia and must therefore take steps to legalize his status. That is not accurate; he is able to travel."
Despite the revocation of Snowden's passport on June 22, Snowden remains a U.S. citizen and is eligible for a limited validity passport good for direct return to the United States, said the attorney general.
The attorney general said that if Snowden returned to the U.S. he would promptly be brought before a civilian court and would receive "all the protections that United States law provides."
He will be interrogated in the presence of a defence lawyer. If he is sentenced, he enjoys the right to appeal, the Attorney General said.
According to him, these guarantees neutralize affirmations by Snowden that he should be treated as a refugee,or he should be given temporary or other refuge. The Attorney General requested the Justice Minister to show this letter to the head of the Federal Immigration Service and other Russian agencies authorized in examining Snowden’s appeal for refuge.
According to the US Justice Ministry,Snowden has been charged with three violations: theft of government property and two offenses under the espionage statutes, specifically giving national defense information to someone without a security clearance and revealing classified information about "communications intelligence.
Snowden may get up to 10-year jail sentence for each accusation.
The father of ex-CIA contractor Edward Snowden accused by the US government of leaking classified information expressed gratitude to everyone who supports his son.
"I’m thankful for anybody at this point that is providing him assistance to keep him safe and secure,” Lon Snowden said in an interview to NBC news, answering a question whether Wikileaks used his son for their own purposes.
Lon Snowden also repeated that he defended his son’s actions saying that "he did what he knew was right. He shared the truth with the American people.”
He also criticized US politicians and mass media that they are demonizing him guided by their own selfish goals rather than by interests of the American people.
Edward Snowden worked for the CIA. He flew the US and leaked details of the US global surveillance program to mass media.
He has been in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo airport since the end of July. He can’t leave the airport as his US passport was annulled. Snowden applied for temporary asylum, and his request is being processed by the Russian Federal Migration Service.
The US insists on his extradition.
Former US security contractor Edward Snowden would not face the death penalty or be tortured and would have all the protections of the US civilian court system if he were sent home, the chief US prosecutor wrote in a letter to his Russian counterpart this week.
In the letter dated July 23 and released on Friday, US Attorney General Eric Holder wrote that he sought to dispel claims about what would happen to Snowden if Russia handed him over to face charges of illegally disclosing government secrets about surveillance programs.
Holder said in the letter addressed to his Russian counterpart that "the charges he faces do not carry that possibility, and the United States would not seek the death penalty even if Mr. Snowden were charged with additional, death penalty-eligible crimes."
Snowden, whom Washington wants to put on trial for disclosing details of massive US surveillance, has been marooned at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport for more than a month.
He has asked Russia for asylum but his fate remains uncertain.
In the letter dated Tuesday, Holder stressed to Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov that Snowden would not be tortured.
"If he returns to the United States, Mr. Snowden would promptly be brought before a civilian court convened under Article III of the United States Constitution and supervised by a United States District Judge."
Holder said Washington believes "these assurances eliminate these asserted grounds for Mr. Snowden's claim that he should be treated as a refugee or granted asylum, temporary or otherwise."
Holder also said that, despite news reports and Snowden's belief to the contrary, the 30-year-old is able to travel and eligible for a "limited validity passport."
"Despite the revocation of his passport on June 22, 2013, Mr. Snowden remains a US citizen," Holder wrote.
The possible imposition of sanctions by the United States against Russia and other countries providing support to former CIA employee Edward Snowden would be counterproductive and fraught with retaliatory measures, says Russian State Duma international affairs committee head Alexei Pushkov.
"The adoption of such a policy may have a counterproductive effect and may provoke a response from these countries affected by this policy amendment," Pushkov told Interfax on Friday.
"It seems to me that prospects for such an amendment to be adopted are not very realistic," Pushkov said.
Former employee of the US special services Edward Snowden could spend weeks, even months, in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, Russia Federal Migration Service Public Chamber Chairman Vladimir Volokh told Interfax on Friday.
"He could stay in Sheremetyevo until his legal status is determined. The legislator has set the timeline of up to three months but the procedure could be extended for another three.
So he could be in the transit area for up to six months," Volokh said. Volokh is former Federal Migration Service deputy head.
Moscow says security agency FSB is in talks with the FBI over Snowden. But whistleblower will not be extradited to the US, a Kremlin spokesman said, adding he is sure the fugitive NSA contractor will stop harming the US if granted asylum in Russia.
"Russia has never extradited anyone, and will not extradite,” said Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
"Russia has never extradited anyone, and will not extradite”
Russian President is not handling the case of the former CIA employee Edward Snowden, as "Snowden has not made any request that is subject to consideration by the head of the state,” added Peskov.