U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden, who has shunned any publicity since winning asylum in Russia, has refused to meet American diplomats.
Mr. Snowden’s Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said he had been approached by U.S. diplomats with a request to help arrange their meeting with the former CIA analyst.
“I passed on their request to Mr. Edward, but he turned it down,” the lawyer told the Kommersant, a leading Russian business daily, on Saturday.
“He explained that the campaign against him unleashed by the U.S. State Department demonstrated its patently prejudiced attitude toward him and his defence of human rights. I conveyed his response to the diplomats,” Mr. Kucherena said.
The U.S., where Mr. Snowden faces espionage and other charges for disclosing U.S. secret surveillance programmes, has repeatedly asked Russia to send him back home, but has not made a formal extradition request to Moscow, Russian prosecutors said.
Mr. Snowden refuted media reports that he had spent two days at the Russian consulate in Hong Kong before taking a flight to Moscow.
“Mr. Edward told me that he had not visited any diplomatic missions… and had not have any contact with our [Russian] diplomats,” Mr. Kucherena said.
The lawyer did not confirm an earlier report in the Kommersant that Mr. Snowden had stuck in Moscow because Cuba refused to grant landing rights to a Moscow-Havana flight if the U.S. leader was on board.
“With his passport revoked during his flight from Hong Kong to Moscow, he could not continue his journey and got stranded at Sheremetyevo [airport],” Mr. Kucherena said.
The Russian lawyer, who has been the only source of information about Mr. Snowden after he was granted temporary asylum in Russia four weeks ago, has again refused to disclose Mr. Snowden’s whereabouts, apart from saying that he was “in a safe place.”
“What he does next, will be decided when his father comes to Russia. That’s when the picture may get somewhat clearer,” Mr. Kucherena said.
The lawyer rejected speculation that Mr. Snowden continued to leak U.S secrets after getting Russian asylum. He said the U.S. leaker was abiding by the terms for staying in Russia that President Vladimir Putin set to him – to stop “harming U.S. interests.”
“He has not violated [this condition],” Mr. Kucherena affirmed.