Edward Snowden in talks to return to United States

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Edward Snowden, a US National Security Agency (NSA) whistle-blower who has been in exile since 2013, would like to return to the United States providing he is guaranteed a "fair and impartial trial", said Anatoly Kucherena, his Russian lawyer, yesterday.

Snowden from file.
Image: Praxis Films.

The US Attorney General has promised Snowden he will not be executed if he is convicted under the Espionage Act, however, Kucherena says, he has not been promised the fair trial he seeks. Kucherena also said the US Attorney General does not have legal power to enforce the promise of no execution. Reportedly, "fair", to Snowden's lawyers, requires he would not be tried under the Espionage Act. Snowden has been on the run since leaking classified information regarding the NSA's mass electronic surveillance of the US population to the mainstream media.

Upon returning to the US, Snowden would still have to face trial on two counts of theft of government property. If he were found guilty on both counts he would serve an up to 30-year prison sentence.

Spokesman for the US Justice Department Marc Raimondi, in remarks to Reuters, reiterated the position of the US on the case, saying, "Snowden is not a whistle-blower. He is accused of leaking classified information and there is no question his actions have inflicted serious harms on our national security".

Kucherena said he is working alongside lawyers from both Germany and the US in order to ensure that a fair trial can be negotiated.