Snowden asylum expires Thursday as Russian officials review case

Edward Snowden’s temporary asylum status in Russia expires on Thursday, but the National Security Agency leaker is still waiting for officials to approve an extension.

“Edward still remains in Russia and we have prepared and submitted a package of documents asking for the permission of a temporary political asylum for him,” Snowden’s attorney, Anatoly Kucherena, told LifeNews TV, according to a report from state-run Russian news agency ITAR-TASS.

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“We hope that the issue will be resolved today or tomorrow,” he added.

Kucherena explained that the Federal Migration Service (FMS), which granted Snowden asylum a year ago, has to follow certain procedures.

The FMS, however, declined to comment on the matter to ITAR-TASS.

There were conflicting reports about Snowden’s status, with the BBC reporting that his asylum had already expired.

Kremlin-backed news outlet RT reported on July 9 that Snowden had applied to extend his asylum in Russia. At the time, Kucherena did not say whether Snowden would seek a different status, such as Russian citizenship.

After those reports, an adviser to FMS, Vladimir Volokh, told Interfax news agency that Snowden’s extension could be granted within days.

Snowden first arrived in Moscow in late June 2013, but became stranded in its airport for more than a month after flying there from Hong Kong.

The former NSA contractor fled the United States and began leaking highly-classified U.S. government documents he stole when he worked for the agency. Snowden faces espionage charges in the U.S.