Edward Snowden is ready to return to the U.S. and face a trial for leaking information on the NSA’s PRISM surveillance program. But first, his Russian lawyers need certain assurances before they start booking flights.
According to Politico, Snowden’s Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena gave a press conference Tuesday, explaining that his client wants to return, but only if he’s given a fair trial. If Edward Snowden returned to the U.S., he would potentially face charges under the Espionage Act, which dates back to World War I.
“He is thinking about it. He has a desire to return and we are doing everything we can to make it happen… Snowden is ready to return to the States, but on the condition that he is given a guarantee of a legal and impartial trial.”
In 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder wrote a letter promising that if Edward Snowden returned, he would not face the death penalty, but the lawyers want further assurances for a fair trial. Furthermore, Kucherena says that the attorney general’s letter doesn’t carry much weight since he cannot legally affect a court’s decision.
Although Kucherena’s press conference more or less echoes what his client has been requesting for years, the renewed call might be in response to the government’s new tolerant policy towards leaking sensitive information.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, General David Petraeus will not be going to jail for leaking information about the identities of covert agents to his mistress. Instead, he now faces a $40,000 fine thanks to a plea bargain.
Kucherena believes that sort of deal would work fine for Edward Snowden, saying “Snowden would be amenable to coming back to the United States for the kind of plea bargain that Gen. [David] Petraeus received.”
Snowden has been in Russia since 2013, when the U.S. revoked his passport. He now has a three-year residency visa from Russia, and can technically travel outside the country, but declines to do so because he might be captured by American authorities.
His leaks on the NSA surveillance program caused outrage among many Americans and sparked a debate over terrorism prevention and the fourth amendment. Despite promises of reform, the government has largely ignored calls to end or independently investigate the program. RT reports that it just received its fifth Congressional renewal since President Obama promised an overhaul in January, 2014.
As for Edward Snowden’s future, he continues to live a reclusive life in Russia, but his lawyer appears to be doing well.
According to Yahoo News, Kucherena is more than just a lawyer for fugitive Americans, he’s also an aspiring author. During the press conference, he made a plug for his new thriller, which is based on his encounters with Snowden.
Filmmaker Oliver Stone has already bought up the movie rights and has tapped Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the film’s star.
Edward Snowden may want to wait to see the response to the film; a compelling box-office hit may sway the jury.
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