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MOSCOW, July 21 (Itar-Tass) - Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, a member of the Russian Public Chamber and chairman of the Public Council set up under the Russian Interior Ministry, said on Saturday that it was impossible to exchange Edward Snowden, the former employee of the U.S. National Security Agency, for Russian entrepreneur Viktor Bout convicted in the United States.
"It would be impossible to exchange Snowden for Viktor Bout or Konstantin Yaroshenko primarily because Edward Snowden has not committed any crimes in the territory of our country. That is why the exchange would have been legally incorrect,” Kucherena said in a live interview with Russia’s Dozhd (Rain) television channel.
Kucherena noted that Edward Snowden was facing a death penalty under U.S. laws. “Snowden is being accused of espionage and government property theft. Both violations imply a very tough sentence, including capital punishment,” Kucherena went on to say.
Last week, Kucherena held legal consultations with Edward Snowden in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport in connection with the latter’s intention to seek political asylum in Russia.
Viktor Bout, a Russian businessman, is serving a 25-year prison sentence in the United States. He was convicted of illegal arms trade and support of terrorism in 2012.
Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot, was arrested in Liberia in 2010 on charges of transporting large shipments of cocaine. He was later extradited to the United States where he was sentenced to 20 years in jail.
Earlier, Yaroshenko’s mother had asked the Russian Foreign Ministry to exchange her son for Edward Snowden.
LDPR’s leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky has made similar proposals on Bout and Yaroshenko.