Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden applied to extend his residence permit in Russia for another three years, according to Russian state media.
“Yes, recently we submitted documents for extending the residence permit for three more years. We hope the decision will be positive,” Snowden’s lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said Thursday.
Kucherena said the possibility of Snowden obtaining Russian citizenship has not been discussed.
Snowden has been living in Russia for nearly seven years after leaking a trove of documents about the NSA’s surveillance programs to several journalists.
Snowden left his job at an NSA facility in Hawaii in 2013 and traveled to Hong Kong, where he shared U.S. government secrets with journalists. He was on his way to Ecuador to apply for asylum when he got stuck in Moscow after the United States revoked his passport.
Russia granted Snowden a three-year residence permit in 2014 and later extended it for another three years.
Snowden, who has been charged with violating the Espionage Act, said last year, the Russian government allowed him to remain there because it’s an easy way for the country to appear as if it’s doing something good and doesn’t fear retaliation from the U.S.
He said he would be willing to come back to the U.S. to face trial if the U.S. promised he could tell a jury why he leaked the information to journalists and if the jury could see the classified material.
“You can’t have a fair trial about the disclosure of information unless the jury can evaluate whether it was right or wrong to reveal this information,” he told NPR in September.