Snowden's father: My son won't get a fair trial

Lonnie Snowden says he doesn't think his son would receive a fair trial in the United States.

FILE: US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, an analyst with a US defence contractor during an interview with the Guardian in Hong Kong. Picture :AFP

MOSCOW - The father of former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden is willing to agree to a request by the FBI to fly to Moscow to see his son on condition the security services clarify exactly what they want him to do.

Lonnie Snowden told state-owned Russian 24 television on Wednesday the FBI had suggested a few weeks ago that he should travel to Moscow to talk to his son, who faces espionage charges in the United States for exposing secret US surveillance programmes.

Edward Snowden has been stuck in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport since arriving from Hong Kong more than a month ago.

His father has had no direct contact with him.

"I received this suggestion [from the FBI to travel to Moscow] a few weeks ago, and I have yet to decline it."

He said he believed his son, who has applied for temporary asylum in Russia after the cancellation of his travel documents meant he was unable to travel on to a preferred destination in Latin America, was better off in Moscow.

"If he wants to spend the rest of his life in Russia, I would agree. I am not against it. If I were in his place, I would stay in Russia, and I hope that Russia will accept him.

"I hope that he will return home and appear in court ... But I don't expect that a court would be fair. We cannot guarantee a fair court."

The Russian lawyer helping Edward Snowden, Anatoly Kucherena, said his asylum request would be granted "in the coming days", and that the United States had failed to send an official extradition request.

"If you want Snowden handed over, you should adhere to the law and send a corresponding legal document correctly filled out. But in the case of the US there was no such thing," said Kucherena, a lawyer who is close to the Kremlin.

"Just saying 'hand him over' is absolutely dishonourable and incorrect."