Posted Jun 25, 2013 03:55 pm CDT
Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed today that the man who leaked details of the U.S. data collection program is in an international transit area of Moscow’s airport and he is free to leave because he hasn’t crossed the Russian border.
Speaking at a news conference in Finland, Putin said the law bars Russia from extraditing Edward Snowden to the United States, where he has been charged with espionage, report the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) and USA Today.
The Times quotes an Interfax account of Putin’s remarks. “As for the issue of the possibility of extradition,” Putin said, “we can only send back some foreign nationals to the countries with which we have the relevant international agreements on extradition. With the United States we have no such agreement.”
Putin also said Russian security officials have not contacted Snowden. “Mr. Snowden is a free man and the sooner he chooses his final destination, the better it will be for us and for him,” Putin said.
Ecuador has confirmed that it provided documents allowing Snowden to travel to the country, where an asylum request is pending.