Whistleblower Edward Snowden has been given permanent residency right by Russia, according to a report.
Snowden, a former CIA contractor, leaked classified data in 2013 from the National Security Agency about the US’s spying and surveillance programs around the world.
He has been living in exile in Moscow, and American authorities have wanted him to return to the country to face trial on espionage charges.
“His (Russian) residency permit was expiring and we asked to extend it,” Anatoly Kucherena, his Russian lawyer, told Reuters.
“We submitted the documents in April and we got the permanent residency rights (on Thursday),” he said, adding that the coronavirus pandemic delayed the process.
President Trump floated pardoning Snowden in August but Attorney General William Barr said he is “vehemently opposed” to it.
“He was a traitor and the information he provided our adversaries greatly hurt the safety of the American people,” Barr said. “He was peddling it around like a commercial merchant. We can’t tolerate that.”