Snowden sues Norway to seek safe travel to receive prize

By on April 22, 2016

(Photo by Freedom of the Press Foundation - Freedom of the Press Foundation, CC BY 4.0.)
(Photo by Freedom of the Press Foundation, CC BY 4.0.)

OSLO—Fugitive US whistle-blower Edward Snowden has filed a lawsuit against Norway to ensure he can travel to the Nordic country to receive a prize without fear of being extradited to the United States, a Norwegian law firm said on Thursday.

The Norwegian PEN organization awarded Snowden the Ossietzky Prize for 2016 and invited him to receive the award in Oslo on November 18, the law firm Schjodt said in a statement, adding that Snowden had a strong desire to come to Norway to personally receive the award.

The firm said it had filed a petition on behalf of Snowden against the ministry of justice and public security to ensure he “can travel safely to Norway to receive the prize without risking extradition to the United States.”

“The purpose is to legally established that Norway has no right to extradite Snowden to the United States,” the firm said in the statement.

It said Snowden’s alleged crimes were political in nature and, according to Norwegian and international laws, he cannot be extradited to the United States.

Local media reported that the United States had previously asked Norway to extradite Snowden to his home country if he entered the country, but the Norwegian authorities did not take any clear stand on the issue.

Snowden faces three felony charges in the United States, including espionage, after he disclosed a classified US intelligence project code-named PRISM in June 2013.

He obtained refugee status in Russia in August 2013 and currently holds a Russian residential permit valid for three years. But the status will be canceled once Snowden leaves Russia.