Snowden's asylum status in Russia ending

July 31, 2014 - 1:05 PM
Germany NSA Protest

A demonstrator against spying holds a sign asking for asylum for former NSA contractor Edward Snowden outside US Army's 'Dagger Complex' near Griesheim, Germany, Saturday, July 26, 2014. The massively secured property is run by the US Military and supposed to be used by the US intelligence agency NSA (National Security Agency). (AP Photo/Michael Probst)(AP Photo/Michael Probst)

MOSCOW (AP) — Edward Snowden's temporary asylum status in Russia will expire at midnight Thursday, but the former U.S. National Security Agency systems administrator appears set to stay on until authorities decide on his application for an extension.

Snowden was stranded in a Moscow airport last year en route from Hong Kong to Cuba, shortly after he revealed the NSA's sprawling program of tapping phones. He received temporary asylum in Russia, attracting Washington's ire.

Under Russian law, that status must be renewed annually. Snowden's lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, was quoted by the state news agency RIA Novosti on Thursday as saying he expected a decision soon on the application and that Snowden could stay at least until the decision is made.