Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor turned whistleblower, has been granted permission to stay in Russia for three more years, his lawyer Anatoly G. Kucherena said Thursday.
Kucherena said during a news conference that Snowden will stay on a residency permit, not another asylum permit, and is now free to move across the country freely for up to three months, according to Russian news agency Itar-TASS. Permanent political asylum is not currently being discussed. “The case in hand is his temporary residence in the territory of the Russian Federation,” his lawyer said.
Snowden has been in legal limbo for the last week, ever since his initial political asylum grant expired on August 1. Amnesty International called on countries around the world to let Snowden travel freely and seek asylum in the country of his choice, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In June 2013 the U.S. government filed formal spying charges against snowden for leaking documents on the NSA's spying programs. Snowden was then stranded in a Moscow airport for over a month when the United States revoked his passport, until Russia granted him temporary asylum. Since then his specific whereabouts have been unknown, though he has done several media appearance, most memorably an interview with Brian Williams in May when he said he wanted to go home.