Snowden ready to go to US if he gets fair trial - whistleblower's lawyer

Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden (Reuters/Charles Platiau)
Edward Snowden would go to the US if he was sure that he would face a fair trial there, the former NSA contractor’s lawyer Anatoly Kucherena says.

"Edward Snowden is ready to return to the US, but on the condition that he be given guarantees to receive a fair and impartial trial," Kucherena told journalists on Tuesday, as cited by TASS.

The lawyer has said he received a letter from the US attorney-general promising no capital punishment for Snowden should he return to America.

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“So what we are being guaranteed is not the fair trial, but that Snowden will not be executed,” Kucherena said. “And it’s done by a prosecutor, who according to the law, is not in any way able to determine a court’s decision.”

Kucherena says he does not trust news of certain countries’ readiness to accept Snowden.

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“I suspect that as soon as he leaves Russia, he’s going to be taken to a US embassy,” he said.

Edward Snowden, who holds a Russian residency permit, can in theory travel freely to other countries, but there are no guarantees of his security abroad, Kucherena specified. It is unclear how this would work in practice, though, because he has no passport for any country.

Snowden has a Russian and US team of lawyers, according to Kucherena, who said his client wants to go back home.

He’s thinking about it. He has a desire to come back and we are doing everything possible to make that happen.

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In June 2013, Edward Snowden leaked thousands of classified NSA documents to the media, revealing the organization’s widespread massive surveillance. Shortly after, the US Department of Justice charged the whistleblower with two counts of violating the Espionage Act as well as theft of government property. The State Department revoked his passport.

Snowden flew from Hong Kong to Moscow, where he intended to board a plane to Cuba. Because his passport had been annulled he wasn’t able to fly, and eventually he was granted political asylum in Russia, where he has been ever since.