Extraditing Snowden impossible: Russian rights official

July 25, 2013 04:48 pm | Updated June 04, 2016 05:30 pm IST - Moscow

Russia’s top human rights official said Thursday that it was impossible to extradite whistleblower Edward Snowden to the United States.

“According to international conventions, a person who has requested temporary asylum must not be handed over,” the head of the presidential human rights council, Mikhail Fedotov, told the Interfax news agency.

Mr Fedotov also argued that, because Mr Snowden was still in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo airport, Moscow cannot hand him over because he is legally not in Russia. “Whatever happens, we can do nothing to please our American partners,” he said.

The whistle-blower has been stuck at the airport for four weeks. Washington insists that Mr Snowden should be handed over to the US, where he is sought on espionage charges.

The State Department said Wednesday that the US would be “deeply disappointed” if Moscow allowed him to leave the transit zone.

Earlier Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke by telephone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Mr Snowden had been widely expected to emerge from the transit zone Wednesday. However, his Russian lawyer said after meeting him at the airport that unspecified bureaucratic difficulties had held him up.

The US ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, said Thursday that the US is not asking for “extradition,” but simply for “the return” of Mr Snowden. “We have sent many people back to Russia,” he wrote on Twitter.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.