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Snowden will remain at Moscow airport for now: Lawyer

Edward Snowden
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Edward Snowden

Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden will stay in the transit zone of a Moscow airport for the time being while Russian authorities consider his temporary asylum request, a lawyer said on Wednesday.

Anatoly Kucherena, a Russian lawyer who is assisting Snowden in his asylum request and met the 30-year-old on Wednesday afternoon, said Snowden had not yet received the pass needed to leave Sheremetyevo airport after more than a month.

Earlier reports from a Russian state news agency and airport officials suggested that Snowden had been granted the papers that will allow him to leave the airport transit area.

An airport official told Reuters that Snowden, who is wanted by the United States for leaking details of U.S. government intelligence programs, would be handed the documents by a lawyer later on Wednesday.

(Read more: Microsoft Helped NSA Access Encrypted Messages: Report)

The lawyer "will hand him the papers", said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The immigration authorities declined immediate comment. RIA news agency quoted a border control official as saying said Snowden would be able to leave the transit zone once he received the necessary documents.

(Read more: Snowden emerges at airport, seeks temporary asylum in Russia)

Snowden arrived in Sheremetyevo from Hong Kong on June 23 and has requested temporary asylum in Russia until he can safely reach a country that will not send him back to the United States to face espionage charges.

Russia has refused to extradite Snowden and risks further damage to relations with the United States if it grants him temporary asylum. The decision on his temporary asylum request could take up to three months.

(Read more: EU Wants Answers to Claims NSA Bugged Its Offices)

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