Former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden could be allowed to leave the Moscow airport in a week to await a decision on his request for asylum in Russia, an attorney for the American said Wednesday.
The Federal Migration Service has "a period of seven days" from the time the asylum request is filed, a move that was made on Tuesday, attorney Anatoly Kucherena told reporters.
The 30-year-old Snowden has been stuck in the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport since June 23, when he arrived on a commercial flight from Hong Kong.
Immigration officials must provide Snowden with confirmation that his request for temporary asylum was received, allowing him to "leave the airport and move about freely," Kucherena said.
The Federal Migration Service "has a period of up to three months" to approve or deny the asylum request, the attorney said, adding that a rejection could be appealed in the courts.
Temporary asylum would be "for one year, renewable annually," Kucherena said.
Snowden has a strong chance of receiving asylum, the attorney said.
Snowden said Friday he was prepared to refrain from making further revelations about Washington's global electronic spying if Russia granted his request for political asylum.
The former intelligence contractor traveled to Russia with plans to board another flight for Cuba en route to asylum in Ecuador, but that plan fell apart and the U.S. government, which is charging him under the 1917 Espionage Act, revoked his passport.
While Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua have offered Snowden refuge, he has struggled to find a way to reach Latin America without crossing the airspace of the United States or its allies.
Snowden exposed Washington's targeting of the telephonic and Internet communications of tens of millions of private citizens in the United States and abroad. EFE