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Edward Snowden receives Russian passport

Edward Snowden received his Russian passport on Friday, his lawyer said. File photo by Dennis Van Tine/UPI
Edward Snowden received his Russian passport on Friday, his lawyer said. File photo by Dennis Van Tine/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Edward Snowden swore an oath of allegiance to Russia and has collected his Russian passport, his lawyer said Friday.

The 39-year-old former intelligence contractor who leaked highly classified information in 2013 was granted Russian citizenship by Vladimir Putin in September.

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He faces espionage charges and 30 years in prison in the United States if he were to return.

"Edward received a Russian passport yesterday and took the oath in accordance with the law," his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said, according to Russia's Interfax news agency.

"He is, of course, happy, thanking the Russian Federation for the fact that he received citizenship," he continued. "And most importantly, under the Constitution of Russia, he can no longer be extradited to a foreign state."

After he leaked the documents, the former National Security Agency contractor first fled from the United States to Hong Kong, where he stayed briefly. He has been living in Russia since June 2013, where he reportedly has worked for a Russian IT company.

Snowden and his wife had applied for Russian citizenship in November 2020, a month after he was granted permanent residency.

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He has maintained a relatively low profile in Russia over the years, but routinely posts on his Twitter account, in which he only follows the NSA. He has not yet addressed his citizenship on Twitter.

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