It appears that Edward Snowden will be returning to the United States in the very near future to stand trial for theft of government property and two counts of violating the 1917 Espionage Act. Snowden, who sought asylum in Russia, has been contemplating coming back to the U.S., but wants assurance that he will receive “a fair trial.”
Edward Snowden’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, claims that Snowden is ready to return home to the United States. However, he does not want to come back unless he is guaranteed a “fair trial.” The U.S. News and World Report notes that Snowden has been stranded in Russia since 2013, when he was attempting to fly from Hong Kong to Cuba. Subsequently, Snowden was given asylum in Russia, which left the U.S. government fuming. After numerous attempts to have Snowden extradited back to the U.S., it seemed that Snowden had found a new home where he would not have to stand trial for the leaking of classified United States government documents.
However, during a media conference today, Kucherena said that Snowden is ready to return to the United States and has been working with American, German, and Russian lawyers to ensure certain security measures would be taken upon his return. The NY Daily News notes that the biggest issue surrounding his return falls on a fair trial.
“Edward Snowden is ready to return to the U.S., but on the condition that he be given guarantees to receive a fair and impartial trial.”
Kucherena claims that the U.S. Attorney General has only made one promise, by stating that they will not seek the death penalty in the case. The death penalty was a possibility, as 1917 Espionage Act violations committed by Snowden are punishable by death. Though Snowden has been given a pass on execution, Kucherena says that is not enough.
“So what we are being guaranteed is not the fair trial, but that Snowden will not be executed. And it’s done by a prosecutor, who according to the law, is not in any way able to determine a court’s decision.”
Despite the certain trial upon return to U.S. soil, the lawyer says that Snowden is ready to return and has been talking about it. The lawyers are pushing for charges related to espionage to be dropped, as they say a trial under the Espionage Act would not be fair. Therefore, it seems that Snowden is only willing to stand trial for the theft of government property charges.
What do you think about the possibility of Edward Snowden returning to U.S. soil and standing trial? Should the U.S. drop the espionage charges in order to bring Snowden back to U.S. soil and out of Russia?