Edward Snowden awarded three-year Russian permit

Edward Snowden picture

Edward Snowden has been awarded a three-year residency permit in Russia according to his lawyers.Former US Intelligence contractor Snowden is wanted in the US for leaking sensitive secrets to many high-profile newspapers in the UK and abroad, but sought asylum in Russia as it's one of the only countries that promised not to hand him in.Snowden fled to Hong Kong and then went on to Russia last year, when he was accused of leaking security secrets including controversial surveillance programmes run by the US National Security Agency (NSA) - such as PRISM - that gathered personal information from US citizens, including their email, phone and internet use.The former intelligence contractor lived in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport before the country offered him asylum exactly a year before his residency permit began.Snowden's lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said: "The decision on the application has been taken and therefore, with effect from August 1, 2014, Edward Snowden has received a three-year residential permit. In the future, Edward himself will take a decision on whether to stay on (in Russia) on and get Russian citizenship or leave for the United States."Snowden is eligible to apply for citizenship in the country after he has been living there for five years. He will decide if he wants to stay and apply in 2018.The lawyer revealed that Snowden is being protected by private security guards to safeguard him from threats posed by the US, adding: "He leads a rather modest lifestyle, but nevertheless we proceed from the tone of statements that come from the US State Department and other political figures. The security issue should not be treated as a secondary one."It is thought that Snowden currently holds access to 1.7 million digital documents revealing information about the US' security schemes.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.