Norwegian court rejects Snowden petition seeking safe passage to Oslo

A Norwegian court Wednesday rejected a petition by Edward Snowden that sought assurance he would not be extradited to the United States should he visit Norway to accept an upcoming award.

The Borgarting Court of Appeal said it could not rule on the petition from the former US government contractor and whistleblower, as there is no formal extradition request and Snowden is not in Norway.

The decision mirrored arguments made by a lower court in June.

Snowden, who has asylum in Russia, is wanted by the US government on espionage charges for exposing extensive telephone and internet data collection programmes used by the National Security Agency (NSA).

He wants to visit Oslo in November to accept the 2016 Ossietzky Prize from Norway's PEN Centre for outstanding efforts for freedom of expression.

The Norwegian branch of writers' group PEN filed the petition in April to secure Snowden's safe passage to the ceremony.

Norwegian PEN president William Nygaard said PEN would appeal Wednesday's decision.

The petition is backed by the Norwegian Union of Journalists, the Association of Norwegian Editors, and the Norwegian Press Association.

The Ossietzky Prize is named after German journalist and pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who won the 1936 Nobel Peace Prize for disclosing Germany's rearmament programmes, which violated the Treaty of Versailles. He was jailed for treason and was unable to attend the award ceremony in Oslo 80 years ago.

Last year, Snowden won another Norwegian freedom of speech award, the Bjornson Prize. He addressed that award ceremony via video. 

Last update: Wed, 28/09/2016 - 14:29

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