Moscow [Russia]: Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee Edward Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, has termed media reports on Russia considering to send his client back to the United States as “speculations.”
“Those are certain speculations, which come from the so-called sources of the U.S. intelligence services,” Russia’s state-owned news agency TASS quoted Kucherena as saying.
Kucherena even said that he does not see any reason for extradition of his client.
He said the U.S. intelligence services are adding information on this topic, from time to time, as it still remains in the U.S. political sphere.
Snowden’s counsel further said that his client observes all Russian laws as he has a residential permit to live in Russia.
Asserting that Russia is not trading human rights or freedoms, Kucherena said that there was no reason to raise and discuss this topic in the country.
“At no level – be it economic or political – the topic of Snowden could be a subject of trade,” he said.
Reacting to the reports, Snowden said that these threatening rumours are emerging as he has, days ago, criticised Russian government’s oppressive new “Big Brother” law.
“Days ago, I criticized the Russian government’s oppressive new “Big Brother” law. Now, threatening rumors. But I won’t stop,” he said in a tweet.
Snowden said that he does not know if rumours are true, but he is not afraid about it.
“I don’t know if the rumors are true. But I can tell you this: I am not afraid. There are things that must be said no matter the consequence,” he said in another tweet.
Snowden had copied and leaked classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013, without prior authorisation and revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance.
He has been charged by U.S. Department of Justice with two counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and theft of government property.
Snowden went to Russia in 2013, where he remained for over one month after which Russian authorities granted him asylum for one year and later extended it for three years. (ANI)