Snowden lawsuit

Snowden sues Norway to avoid extradition

Photo: Lotta Härdelin / Aftenposten Snowden has wished to visit Norway for a long time.

Photo: Lotta Härdelin / Aftenposten
Snowden has wished to visit Norway for a long time.

Staff Compilation
Aftenposten, AFP/The Local & NTB/VG

Edward Snowden, a fugitive U.S. intelligence contractor, has filed a lawsuit against the Norwegian government seeking a guarantee that he will not be extradited if he visits Norway to accept an award, a literary rights group said on April 22 in a report by AFP.

The Norwegian branch of the PEN Club has invited Snowden, who has been living in exile in Russia since 2013 after revealing widespread U.S. foreign surveillance, to collect the Ossietzky prize for freedom of expression in November.

PEN said a law firm had filed a petition with Oslo City Court “in order to allow Snowden to travel to Norway without fear of extradition to the U.S., where he faces decades of imprisonment under the Espionage Act,” reports AFP.

The 32-year-old American was charged by U.S. authorities with espionage and the theft of state secrets after revealing the extent of surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency, according to AFP.

The state is being sued through the Ministry of Justice.

“The Ministry of Justice would not comment on a case that may be considered and decided by the court,” said Ministry communications manager Gunnar A. Johansen to NTB.

“The Ossietzky prize will be awarded in Oslo on November 18, 2016, and Edward Snowden wants to come to Norway to receive the prize personally,” Schjødt told NTB.

“The law firm Schjødt has been commissioned to facilitate judicially that Snowden can travel safely to Norway to receive the prize, without risking extradition to the United States. We have in this regard on behalf of Edward Snowden issued a writ against the state at the Ministry of Justice,” writes the law firm.

Halvard Helle said that “Snowden’s case is unique, but the principles it is based on are proven. His alleged offenses are of political character, thus by the Norwegian Extradition Act and International Law, he cannot be extradited to the U.S.,” reports NTB.

Snowden and the Norwegian branch of the PEN Club are represented by Halvard Helle and Emanuel Feinberg from the law firm Schjødt.

Considered a whistleblower by some and a traitor by others, Snowden won a similar Norwegian award last year. He was unable to collect it in person after he failed to receive assurances that he would not be arrested and extradited to the United States. Snowden has also been nominated again for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, which will be announced in October, according to AFP.

This article originally appeared in the April 29, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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