Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Crime or Punishment? ~ Snowden Remains Stuck in Moscow Airport

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Previous Post:
Opinions Range from Naive Joy to Good Riddance as Snowden Plans to Leave Moscow Airport


New York Times Story
Mr. Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia, and Russian news agencies had reported earlier on Wednesday that the Russian Federal Migration Service had issued a certificate confirming his application and permitting him to pass through Russian border control. A huge throng of reporters and camera crews gathered at the airport terminal in anticipation of Mr. Snowden’s departure.

But at about 6 p.m.. Antatoly Kucherena, a Russian lawyer assisting Mr. Snowden with his asylum request, emerged from the transit zone and said that the certificate had not been received.

He did not cite any specific reason for the delay but said officials had informed him that Mr. Snowden’s situation “was not a standard process” and that the paperwork needed to allow him to depart the airport.

Mr. Kucherena said he had met with Mr. Snowden and described him as being in good spirits, with plans to learn Russian. He said he had brought him the copy of “Crime and Punishment.”

I have to say I did not expect to see so many journalists at the airport today . . . but there is a procedure, a certain procedure, for the federal migration service to follow. It has to consider the request that Edward Snowden filed on the 16th of this month. According to Russian laws, there is a government decision that regulates such matters. For example, it says that a request for temporary asylum should be considered for three months. So today some initial papers were issued.
. . . First they issue a temporary document, then they consider the request. Today there was some misinformation saying that this paper had been issued. NO, this paper has not been issued, and the papers are still being considered.
I talk to migration authorities almost daily as they work on Edward Snowden's case.
. . . I think this situation will be resolved shortly. At this point I'm not ready to give a specific date.
~ Snowden's Attorney Anatoly Kucherena via RT

Reuters: Fugitive Snowden's Hopes of Leaving Moscow Airport Dashed
. . . Kucherena confirmed Snowden was staying somewhere in the many corridors and rooms of the transit area between the runway and passport control - an area which Russia considers neutral territory - and that he had learned the Russian for "Hi", "Bye-bye" and "I'll ring you."

The 30-year-old had received calls from across Russia, with offers to give him money and a place to stay, and even a suggestion by one woman to adopt him. He said he had enough money to get by for now.

Kucherena said he had brought him fresh underwear and shirts and added that he had given him the novel "Crime and Punishment" by 19th Century writer Fyodor Dostoevsky and short stories by Anton Chekhov.

President Vladimir Putin signaled last week that he did not want the dispute to derail Russia's relations with the United States, and the decision on temporary asylum could be delayed until after U.S. President Barack Obama visits Moscow for a summit in early September.

Background on Attorney Kucherena from Bob Cesca on The Daily Banter
. . . Kucherena reportedly sits on the Public Council for Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). Until 1995, the FSB was known as the Federal Counter-Intelligence Service (FSK). Before that, it was two agencies: the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and the Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information (FAPSI). And before that? It was the Committee of State Security. The acronym: KGB.
In other words, Snowden, who claims to be highly suspicious if not totally disdainful of spy agencies, has hired a lawyer with direct ties to the spy agency formerly known as the KGB. But there’s more. Kucherena is connected with President Vladimir Putin, who, in turn, was a lieutenant colonel with the KGB earlier in his career and, to date, doesn’t have a stellar human rights record. Kucherena was also the lawyer for a pro-Putin filmmaker named Nikita Mikhalkov who publicly supported a plan for Putin to remain in office even after his term had expired.
There’s still more. Kucherena is the founder of the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, a conservative think-tank that was established in part by the Krelim as a PR front. The institute is essentially a form of pay-back against western nations that have questioned Russia’s elections and human rights record.

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