MOSCOW, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden was granted a three-year extension on his asylum residency in Russia.
His lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told reporters Thursday that Snowden's request for an extension was granted. Snowden's previous asylum was only for one year and expired July 31.
"Accordingly, Edward Snowden was given a three-year residence permit," said Kucherena.
The permit will not only give Snowden three more years under Russia's protection, but will also allow him to move freely and travel abroad. Snowden has not left Moscow since he fled there from Hong Kong in May 2013 after leaking a cache of NSA documents.
Russia's protection of Snowden has been a thorn in the country's already prickly relationship with the United States. The Obama administration has repeatedly condemned Russia for their failure to extradite Snowden so he can face espionage charges. Secretary of State John Kerry recently told Snowden to "man up" and come home.
His lawyer said he is working as an "IT specialist" and advocating for civil rights.
"In the future Edward will have to decide whether to continue to live in Russia and become a citizen or to return to the United States," said Kucherena.