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  Norway court rejects plea for Edward Snowden free passage

Norway court rejects plea for Edward Snowden free passage

AFP
Published : Jun 28, 2016, 5:32 am IST
Updated : Jun 28, 2016, 5:32 am IST

A court in Norway on Monday refused to provide assurances to US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden that he would not be extradited if he visits the country to accept an award in November.

Edward Snowden
 Edward Snowden

A court in Norway on Monday refused to provide assurances to US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden that he would not be extradited if he visits the country to accept an award in November.

Mr Snowden, who has been living in exile in Russia since 2013 after revealing widespread US foreign surveillance, filed a civil lawsuit against the Norwegian justice ministry in April to prevent it, in advance, of acting on any extradition request.

The Norwegian branch of the PEN Club has invited Mr Snowden to collect the Ossietzky prize for freedom of expression on November 18. But Mr Snowden fears he will be extradited to the US if he travels to Norway.

The Oslo court rejected his request, upholding the justice ministry’s argument that the basis for an extradition can not be evaluated until an extradition request is actually submitted.

In practice, that means Norway could only decide whether to extradite Mr Snowden to the US once the US has asked Oslo to extradite him.

Mr Snowden was charged by US authorities with espionage and theft of state secrets after revealing the extent of surveillance programmes run by the National Security Agency. Norway was one of the countries where Snowden had sought asylum when he fled the US, but Oslo’s response was that asylum seekers had to be physically present in the country to apply.

Location: Norway, Oslo