• Sat
  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 9:34am
Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden slips out of Moscow airport into hiding

Fugitive former US spy agency contractor granted temporary asylum by Russian authorities

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 August, 2013, 8:22pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 August, 2013, 2:36am

Former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden said on Thursday Russia’s decision to grant him temporary asylum was a victory for the rule of law, thanking Moscow while accusing the Obama administration of flouting international law.

“Over the past eight weeks we have seen the Obama administration show no respect for international or domestic law, but in the end the law is winning. I thank the Russian Federation for granting me asylum,” he said in a statement released by anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

Edward Snowden’s father on Thursday thanked President Vladimir Putin on Thursday after Russia granted his son a year’s temporary asylum.

“I am so thankful to the Russian nation and President Vladimir Putin,” Lonnie Snowden told a state television channel in an interview, in which his comments were dubbed into Russian.

Snowden slipped quietly out of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Thursday after Russia granted him temporary asylum, ending more than a month in limbo in the transit area.

A Russian lawyer who has been assisting Snowden said the American, who is wanted in the United States for leaking details of secret government intelligence programmes, had gone to a secure location that would remain secret.

Over the past eight weeks we have seen the Obama administration show no respect for international or domestic law, but in the end the law is winning
Edward Snowden

After weeks staying out of sight from hordes of reporters desperate for a glimpse of him, Snowden managed to slip away in a taxi without being spotted. Grainy images of his passport showed he had been granted asylum for a year from July 31.

“He is the most wanted man on planet Earth. What do you think he is going to do? He has to think about his personal security. I cannot tell you where he is going,” his lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, said.

“I put him in a taxi 15 to 20 minutes ago and gave him his certificate on getting refugee status in the Russian Federation,” he said. “He can live wherever he wants in Russia. It’s his personal choice.”

He said Snowden was not going to stay at any embassy in Moscow, although three Latin American countries have offered to shelter him. Snowden was well, he added.

Snowden was accompanied by Sarah Harrison, a representative of the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, which confirmed he had left the airport.

“We would like to thank the Russian people and all those others who have helped to protect Mr Snowden. We have won the battle – now the war,” WikiLeaks said on Twitter.

Snowden, 30, arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23. Nicaragua, Bolivia and Venezuela have offered him refuge but there are no direct commercial flights to Latin America and he was concerned the United States would intercept his flight to prevent him reaching his destination.


Snowden’s case has caused new strains in relations between Russia and the United States which wants him extradited to face espionage charges.

The White House has signalled that President Barack Obama could consider boycotting a planned summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in early September.

But a senior Kremlin official said ties between Russia and the United States would not suffer because of what he said was a “relatively insignificant” case.

“Our president has ... expressed hope many times that this will not affect the character of our relations,” Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s top foreign policy adviser, told reporters.

He said there was no sign that US President Barack Obama would cancel the planned visit in September.


Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

hard times !
I am overjoyed to learn that
our whistle-blower, Snowden
has left the transit zone
and gone to a secure place
in Moscow by taxi
Bravo ! Wish him safe and
sound in the coming year
get a good job and date
Ms Anna Chapman
his dad may now visit
him there but don't try
to persuade back to
the States where hell
is awaiting his arrival
have a nice stay in
Moscow, our leaker-hero
your Hongkong worshipper
I bet this is the result of C Mo’s good work
She has written to the White House
the one in Moscow I suppose
pleading mercy for Snowden
Yah are there free lunch there really? How much KGB squeezed him for info to exchange for that? U think from now on he is not followed by KGB 7 by 24?
John Adams
Hurray !
Before granting ES the reprieve
VP demonstrated crisis mobilization
Beijing widely infiltrated is not prepared
to confront hegemonic Sam headon
A nice brew of pu’er in samovar
this would definitely be the next record-breaking international box-office buster; this sequel where captain America is left hollering, screaming murder and tearing his den apart, having his 'authority' thus defied and his lowly 'villain' escaped to leash vile propaganda for another day....
hey, hk directors, interested?...say cut, sliced and edited in say, 3 weeks?
Thank you smartie
You're so sweet
Great he made it so far! I wish him all the best. We need more people like him.
Fascist regimes like the USA, China, and many others, need to be exposed for what they are. The people have a right to know.
This is the worst scenario for the US. Putin will probably get all Snowden's files.
I think many of us can now breathe a sigh of relief. Hurray!
I started subscribing to SCMP when Snowden was in Hong Kong and have just now cancelled my subscription. I feel indebted to Mr Snowden for what he has done. I also feel sorry that as a Chinese territory Hong Kong (or Beijing) wasn't able to provide the protection he desperately needed.
Best of luck Snowden!
Come on naive thinking! Why world Russian listen to Hk plead? They did it for their own benefit showing to the world they are not afraid of US...all political !


SCMP.com Account