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Russian official refuses to comment on Snowden asylum request

July 30, 2013 at 12:14 PM

MOSCOW, July 30 (UPI) -- The head of Russia's Federal Migration Service has refused to comment on the petition for temporary asylum filed by U.S. secrets leaker Edward Snowden.

Konstantin Romodanovsky told the Russian news agency ITAR-Tass Tuesday Snowden's case is not "exclusive," adding, "The exclusiveness is only in questions of journalists."

Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, has been holed up in the transit section of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport for more than a month and is currently awaiting action on his request for temporary asylum.

A federal migration official said Snowden is safer at the airport, Voice of American reported.

Vladimir Volokh, who heads the migration service's public council, said Russia can't guarantee Snowden's safety if he leaves the airport.

"I don't think it is good for Snowden to travel freely in Russia, as he is wanted now," Volokh said.

Washington has promised Snowden won't face the death penalty for leaking information about spying by the NSA if he returns to the United States.

However, his father Lon Snowden told CNN he has urged his son to remain in Russia "until we have assurances that he would receive a fair trial."

"There has been a clear effort by those who have been threatened politically and/or embarrassed by these revelations to focus on the, so to speak sinner -- my son who has revealed these -- instead of the sins, the actual revelations," Lon Snowden told CNN.

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