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Edward Snowden Won’t Face Death Penalty If Returned To US

The death penalty is off the table for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, should be be returned to the US.

Attorney General Eric Holder told his Russian counterpart that Snowden wouldn’t face the possibility of being executed for treason if the country sends him home. He also said that Snowden would not face torture, and would be granted all of the protections of a US civilian court if he is returned from his Moscow airport hideout.

“I can report that the United States is prepared to provide to the Russian government the following assurances regarding the treatment Mr. Snowden would face upon return to the United States,” Holder wrote.

“First, the United States would not seek the death penalty for Mr. Snowden should he return to the United States. Mr. Snowden will not be tortured. Torture is unlawful in the United States,” the letter said.

The letter was released Friday in an effort to silence allegations regarding what would happen to Snowden if he is handed over by Russia. Holder said that the hacker will face charges of illegally disclosing government secrets about surveillance programs.

Snowden has been trapped in Moscow for over a month, and is looking for a country that will grant him asylum. Recent rumors have suggested that Russia is considering allowing him to stay and work in that country, but until an official decision is made, Snowden’s life is basically the Tom Hanks film The Terminal.

Russia has refused to return Snowden thus far, primarily over fears of what might happen to him if he is extradited to the US Holder’s letter also attempts to invalidate Snowden’s status as a refugee.

“We believe that these assurances eliminate these asserted grounds for Mr. Snowden’s claim that he should be treated as a refugee or granted asylum, temporary or otherwise,” the letter read.

What do you think would happen to Edward Snowden if he returned to the US?