Snowden loses suit

Oslo District Court has rejected the US whistle-blower’s anti-extradition bid

Photo: Laura Poitras / Praxis Films / Wikimedia Commons Edward Snowden.

Photo: Laura Poitras / Praxis Films /
Wikimedia Commons
Edward Snowden.

Michael Sandelson
The Foreigner

Edward Snowden is due to be handed the 2016 Ossietzky Prize by Norwegian PEN. The freedom of expression NGO is part of PEN International, founded by English novelist John Galsworthy in 1922.

The former CIA contractor, who leaked details of extensive internet and phone surveillance by American intelligence to the media, is currently in Russia after being granted temporary asylum. He faces charges of espionage regarding his actions.

His civil lawsuit against the Norwegian State is designed to prevent his arrest and extradition to the U.S. should he travel to Norway in order to receive his prize this November.

Government lawyers have asked Oslo District Court to reject Snowden’s legal action. Their view is that his possible extradition is not a matter for civil proceedings. Judges have now found in favor of the State and dismissed the lawsuit.

A trial can only proceed in cases where the actual extradite is in Norway and when there is a request for extradition, they say. “Snowden is not in Norway and the U.S. has not submitted an extradition request either,” states the ruling.

“There’s very little doubt that this request for extradition will be presented seconds after he sets foot in Norway,” Jon Wessel-Aas, representing pressure groups helping Edward Snowden with his case, tells NRK.

Norwegian PEN says that there is no doubt that they will be appealing the judgment.

In related news, Norwegian PEN is mourning the loss of former president Kjell Olaf Jensen, who died on July 4, aged 70.

A writer, translator, and critic, he was a central figure in reviving PEN International at the turn of the century and a constant champion for writers at risk. Jensen spearheaded the creation of International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), which today offers shelter of dozens of writers each year.

This article was originally published on The Foreigner. To subscribe to The Foreigner, visit

It also appeared in the July 15, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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