The NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been given documents allowing him to leave a Moscow airport where he has been trapped for a month, Russian media reported.
Russia has given Snowden documents allowing him to leave Moscow's Sheremyetovo airport, a source told RIA Novosti state news agency. His lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, is reportedly on his way to the airport to meet him, NBC News said.
Snowden, a former intelligence analyst responsible for leaking damaging details about the US surveillance programmes, had applied for political asylum to 20 countries.
Edward Snowden could leave Moscow airport on Wednesday
Unable to leave the airport, and despite having withdrawn his application to Russia for asylum previously, he decided again to seek refuge in the country, prevented from flying eslewhere.
Kucherena, headof the public council for the Soviet KGB's successor agency the FSB, said Snowden had stated in the application that he faced possible torture and execution if he returned to the US.
According to Kucherena, Snowden had also stated that he would meet Putin's condition for granting asylum, that he stop leaking details that could 'damage American partners'.
On Tuesday, Kucherena revealed to Russia Today that Snowden was keen to integrate into Russian society, learn the language and get a job.
“He’s planning to arrange his life here. He plans to get a job. And, I think, that all his further decisions will be made considering the situation he found himself in,” he told Russia Today.
Once Snowden receives the document from Russian authorities confirming his application is being reviewed, he will be allowed to leave the airport, Kucherena said.
“There are no travel restrictions. Therefore, receiving the paper will give him an opportunity to leave the transit zone of the Sheremetyevo airport and choose a place of residence – rent a hotel or a flat. [He can] live in any place within the Russian federation."
Snowden must then wait three months to learn if he has been granted temporary asylum, after which he will get a “guarantee of the same rights and freedoms possessed by the citizens of the Russian Federation.
“The temporary asylum is given on a one-year term. After it expires, the term can be prolonged for another year and this can be repeated an indefinite number of times afterwards. "