Lon Snowden, the father of former U.S. intelligence agent Edward Snowden, who exposed information about the activities of the U.S. National Security Agency, arrived at Moscow's Sheremetyevo international airport from New York, Russia 24 TV channel report.
At the airport, Lon Snowden held a briefing in which his son's lawyer Anatoly Kucherena took part as well. He said that other members of the American family consider visiting Moscow. As for Snowden Sr., he plans to stay in Moscow for two weeks, the television channel said.
From the brief communication with reporters, it became known that the former U.S. intelligence officer, most likely, would never return to his homeland. However, his father said, his son was not guilty. Lon Snowden is certain that his son Edward had done good work.
"I'm not sure that my son will be able to return to the U.S. again. I am a guest of Mr. Kucherena, I am very grateful to him. There are issues that I would not like to discuss now, but my position is to move in the direction of my future and the future of my son. I believe in the fairness of the court and the rights that the constitution gives to my son," Lon Snowden said as quoted by Interfax.
Earlier, Kucherena said that the Snowdens would discuss the issue Edward's employment. As noted by the lawyer, his client currently remains in quite a modest financial situation. "He lives on the money he had. Certainly, it is not enough to have a better quality of life in terms of everyday issues," RT said.
Snowden's father was going to fly to Russia earlier, but it became known in the beginning of September that he could not obtain a Russian visa. At the end of September, when the visa issues were settled, it was reported that he had decided to postpone the trip due to security concerns.
In mid-August, Snowden Sr. established a contact with his son for the first time since Edward Snowden's departure from the U.S. They exchanged messages via a secure chat online. This decision was made independently by Lon Snowden, contrary to legal advice of his lawyer.
In the United States, Snowden is accused of divulging classified information about the NSA's electronic surveillance program. At home, he is charged with violation of two articles of the U.S. Law on Espionage from 1917 - unauthorized disclosure of classified information affecting national defense and deliberate transmission of U.S. intelligence data to individuals not entitled to receive such information. In addition, Snowden is accused of stealing the property of the U.S. government. On each of these counts, Edward Snowden faces up to ten years in prison.
The father of ex-intelligence officer today thanked Russia for helping his son. "I am extremely grateful to the Russian people, President Vladimir Putin and Mr. Kucherena, his staff, for the assistance they have given to my son by ensuring his safety," Lon Snowden said.
Noteworthy, Lon Snowden arrived in Moscow on the day when his son may become the winner of a prestigious international award. The winner of the Sakharov Prize "For Freedom of Thought 2013" will be announced today, October 10 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The shortlist of finalists was determined on September 30. It includes, among others, 15-year-old Pakistani activist fighting for the rights of women Malala Yousafzai and the former CIA agent Edward Snowden.
The Sakharov Prize For Freedom of Thought was established by the European Parliament in 1988 and is awarded annually for achievements in the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as for respect of international law and democracy.
The first winners of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize in 1988 were Nelson Mandela and USSR-era dissident Anatoly Marchenko, who died in December 1986 in a Soviet prison. The monetary portion of the prize is 50,000 euros. The Sakharov Prize for 2012 was awarded to two Iranian oppositionists.
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