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Snowden's dad willing to grant FBI request

31 July 2013, 13:30

Moscow - The father of former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden said on Wednesday 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.

Lonnie Snowden told state-owned Russian 24 television the FBI had suggested a "few weeks ago" that he should travel to Moscow to talk to his son, who faces espionage charges in the United States for exposing secret US surveillance programmes.

Edward Snowden, whose exposure of the surveillance raised questions about intrusion into private lives, has been stuck in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport since arriving from Hong Kong more than a month ago.

His father has had no direct contact with him.

"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 said he believed his 30-year-old son, who has applied for temporary asylum in Russia after the cancellation of his travel documents meant he was unable to travel on to a preferred destination in Latin America, was better off in Moscow.

No official extradition request

"If he wants to spend the rest of his life in Russia, I would agree. I am not against it," he said. "If I were in his place, I would stay in Russia, and I hope that Russia will accept him."

Lonnie Snowden again said he did not think his son would get a fair trial in the United States because of "what happened in the last 5-6 weeks".

"I hope that he will return home and appear in court ... But I don't expect that ... a court would be fair. We cannot guarantee a fair court."

The Russian lawyer helping Edward Snowden, Anatoly Kucherena, told the programme he thought his asylum request would be granted "in the coming days", and that the United States had failed to send an official extradition request.

"If you want [to have Snowden handed over], you should adhere to the law, so send, according to existing rules of co-operation between states, a corresponding legal document, correctly filled out. But there is no such thing," said Kucherena, a lawyer who is close to the Kremlin.

"Just saying 'hand him over' is absolutely dishonourable and incorrect."

- Reuters


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