This excerpt taken from the VRSN 10-K filed Jul 12, 2007.
3.1.6 Redemption Grace Period
A domain name is placed in REDEMPTIONPERIOD status when a registrar requests the deletion of a domain that is not within the Add Grace Period. A name that is in REDEMPTIONPERIOD status will not be included in the zone file. A registrar can not modify or purge a domain in REDEMPTIONPERIOD status. The only action a registrar can take on a domain in REDEMPTIONPERIOD is to request that it be restored. Any other registrar requests to modify or otherwise update the domain will be rejected. Unless restored, the domain will be held in REDEMPTIONPERIOD status for a specified number of calendar days. The current length of this Redemption Period is 30 calendar days.