MOSCOW –Edward Snowden will appeal any rejection of his bid for temporary asylum in Russia, his lawyer said Wednesday, as the NSA leaker’s father weighed whether to visit him in Moscow.
Anatoly Kucherena, the lawyer who helped the fugitive American file a bid for temporary asylum on July 16, said he would launch a legal appeal if Russian authorities turned down his request.
Kucherena also told state-owned news agency RIA Novosti that he was planning to organize a visit to Moscow by Snowden's father, Lonnie.
Edward Snowden has spent more than a month holed up in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, where he arrived from Hong Kong after the publication of newspaper reports based on classified documents he says he leaked.
Lonnie Snowden told Wednesday state-owned Russian 24 television that he was willing to agree to a request by the FBI to fly to Moscow to see his son, but first needed to know what the security services wanted.
He said the FBI had suggested a "few weeks ago" that he should travel to Moscow, Reuters reported.
"I received this suggestion (from the FBI to travel to Moscow) a few weeks ago, and I have yet to decline it," Lonnie Snowden said, his English translated into Russian. He added that he would first like to know what the FBI wanted him to do.
He has had no direct contact with his son since the newspaper reports, which exposed the scale and extent of NSA surveillance programs.
Wednesday’s comments by Kucherena make it increasingly likely that Snowden might seek permanent asylum in Russia.
Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua have all said they would grant him political asylum. However, Kucherena has indicated that Snowden believes it is unsafe to attempt travel to Latin America soon because of U.S. efforts to return him to the United States to face espionage charges.
Snowden has not ruled out seeking Russian citizenship, Kucherena said earlier this month.
First published July 31 2013, 3:48 AM