MOSCOW, October 21 (RIA Novosti) – Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden should not be dragged into the case of Roman Seleznev, a Russian citizen accused by US authorities of hacking, the whistleblower's lawyer said Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, Valery Seleznev, the father of the alleged cybercriminal and a Russian lawmaker, told reporters that the US secret services falsified the accusations against Roman in order to be able to exchange him for Snowden.
"I understand the father's feelings but I urge not to give in to speculations, not to drag Edward Snowden into this story, not to succumb to political games the United States is playing," Anatoly Kucherena said. An exchange is out of the question as Snowden is legally residing in Russia, the lawyer noted.
"He [Snowden] has not committed any crime, he is engaged in advocacy. Even in theory, exchanges of human rights defenders and those who are suspected of a crime are impossible," Kucherena said.
US prosecutors claim that Roman Seleznev, 30, hacked into retail point-of-sale systems and installed malicious software to steal more than 2 million credit card numbers from various businesses. On July 5, Seleznev was detained by US secret service agents in the Maldives and was brought to Guam, and later to Seattle, Washington. The Russian Foreign Ministry and Seleznev's father called the detention a "kidnapping."
Snowden received temporary asylum in Russia in 2013 and was later granted a residence permit until 2017. He is wanted in the United States on several charges including espionage and government property theft and could face up to 30 years in prison.