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article imagePutin: Snowden in Moscow airport transit zone, no extradition

By Anne Sewell     Jun 25, 2013 in World
Moscow - As far as Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, is concerned, Edward Snowden remains in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport. He is not officially on Russian soil, cannot enter Russia without a visa, and the country will not extradite him.
Putin says that any accusations against Russia related to Snowden are "nonsense and rubbish."
Speaking to journalists in Finland, Putin said, “It is true that Snowden has arrived to Moscow, and it really came as a surprise for us. He arrived as a transit passenger, and didn't need a [Russian] visa, or any other documents. As a transit passenger he is entitled to buy a ticket and fly to wherever he wants.”
Putin stressed that Snowden “has not crossed” the Russian border.
He further stated that there is no extradition treaty between Russia and the US, which makes it impossible to extradite people like Snowden in any event.
“We can only extradite any foreign citizens to such countries with which we have signed the appropriate international agreements on criminal extradition,” he stated.
Putin said that Snowden “has not committed any crime” on Russian soil adding that Russian security agencies “have never worked with and are not working with” the former NSA contractor.
"Snowden is a free person," Putin said. "The sooner he chooses his final destination, the better it is for him and Russia."
While stressing the facts above, Putin did, however, express hope that the Snowden saga would not have any negative impact on Russian-American relations.
“I hope this won't affect the cordial nature of our relations with the US. I hope our partners will understand this,” Putin said.
Putin compared Snowden to the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, still holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden and possible further extradition to the US.
“Just like Snowden, he considers himself a rights advocate and fights for sharing information. Ask yourself: should or should not people like these be extradited to be later put to jail?” Putin asked.
“In any case, I would like not to deal with such issues because it is like shearing a pig: there's lots of squealing and little fleece,” he said.
More about Russia, Moscow, edward snowden, snowden, Extradition
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