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News > World

Snowden Sues Norway for Safe Passage

  • Snowden has been wanted by the U.S. government since 2013.

    Snowden has been wanted by the U.S. government since 2013. | Photo: EFE

Published 21 April 2016

The man who exposed the U.S.' widespread spying programs is suing Norway to travel to the country to pick up an award, free of fear of extradition.

Edward Snowden will take the Norwegian state to court in a bid to secure safe passage into the country, a Norwegian law firm representing the U.S. whistleblower said on Thursday.

Snowden has been invited to Norway to receive a freedom of speech award from the local branch of the writers' group PEN International, but is worried that he would be handed over to the United States, his lawyers say.

Related: Snowden Calls on the UK to Demand Cameron's Resignation

The U.S. charged Snowden with conveying classified information to an unauthorized party, disclosing communications intelligence information, and theft of government property in 2013, after he leaked documents regarding government surveillance on U.S. citizens, foreign leaders, and many others.

At the time of the leak, Snowden worked for Booz-Allen, an American management consulting firm that handled major government programs, including those responsible for global espionage.

"The purpose is to get legally established that Norway has no right to extradite Snowden to the U.S.," the law firm, Schjoedt, said in a statement.

"U.S. authorities have already asked that Snowden will be extradited to the U.S. if he was to arrive in Norway," Hallvard Helle, the lawyer representing Snowden, told Reuters.

Snowden, whose supporters say he boldly exposed government infringements of privacy, fled the United States in May 2013 and now lives in Russia where he was granted asylum. Since he fled to Russia, he has periodically criticized U.S. and UK policies towards their citizens.

The former contractor is also a top pick for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, which is selected by a committee in Norway.

Russia and Norway share a border, making land travel possible.

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