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Snowden leaves Moscow airport after temporary asylum granted

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Snowden leaves Moscow airport after temporary asylum granted

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Edward Snowden, wanted by the United States for leaking intelligence secrets, has been granted temporary asylum in Russia and has left Moscow airport.

The former US spy agency contractor slipped away in a taxi to an unknown destination without being spotted.

His Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena showed off a copy of new documents granting Snowden permission to stay in the country for a year.

“As regards where he’ll live, he’ll decide for himself. He is free to reside either in a hotel or an apartment. But given the fact that he is the most persecuted man in the world, he’s going to take care of his security,” he said.

The whistle-blowing organisation WikiLeaks which has been helping Snowden said one of its team was with him.

Russia had refused to extradite the fugitive despite numerous requests from the US.

Snowden, who had been at the airport since June 23, is thought to have accepted Russia’s condition that he stop revealing US secrets.

Washington had cast doubt over a planned visit to Moscow by President Obama in September, but the Kremlin is playing down any diplomatic damage.