Edward Snowden will be staying in Russia after President Obama refused to grant him a pardon like the one he granted Chelsea Manning.
A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, Maria Zakharova, said, “Snowden’s residency in Russia has just been extended by another couple of years.'”
Snowden was charged with “unauthorized communication of national defense information” and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person.” However, the former NSA contractor never applied for a pardon for his 2013 crime.
According to the White House, there is a distinction between Snowden and Manning. The White House points out that Snowden has never apologized for his crimes. Chelsea Manning, who had been serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified government and military documents to WikiLeaks, has “expressed remorse.”
President Obama granted clemency to Chelsea Manning on Tuesday, allowing the transgender Army intelligence officer convicted of leaking more than 700,000 U.S. documents to go free nearly three decades early.
Snowden, who was initially allowed to stay in Russia for one year after he fled the United States back in 2013, will be allowed to apply for a Russian passport next year due to the amount of time he has already spent in the country.
According to Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, his Russian residency permit is only good until 2020.
Anatoly Kucherena told local media:
“In effect, he now has all grounds to receive citizenship in the future, over the course of a certain period, since under the law we have a period of residence on Russia soil of not less than 5 years (to receive Russian citizenship). Now he has already been living on Russian territory for nearly four years, he does not violate the law, there are no complaints about him. That’s one of the reasons his residency permit was extended.”
Snowden was pleased with the Obama pardon of Chelsea Manning and wrote on Twitter: “Let it be said here in earnest, with good heart: Thanks, Obama.”
Snowden later sent out these tweets:
H/T: Daily Mail
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