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Edward Snowden ready to return to U.S., lawyer says

Edward Snowden is pictured. | AP Photo

Edward Snowden is ready to go home to the United States.

“Snowden is ready to return to the States, but on the condition that he is given a guarantee of a legal and impartial trial,” his Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, said at a news conference Tuesday, as quoted by Russian state media outlet TASS.
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The former National Security Agency contractor has been in Russia since 2013, having fled to the country from Hong Kong after leaking classified national security information to journalists.
“He is thinking about it. He has a desire to return and we are doing everything we can to make it happen,” Kucherena said.
Snowden’s temporary asylum in Russia expired last August, at which time the country granted him a three-year residence permit.
Despite a 2013 letter from Attorney General Eric Holder that promised Snowden would not face the death penalty upon his return, Kucherena said he wants assurances of a fair trial as well.


“That is, they guarantee that Snowden will not be executed, not that he will receive a fair trial. And it is guaranteed by attorney [general] who cannot even influence court decisions according to law,” Kucherena was quoted as saying.
Jesselyn Radack, one of Snowden’s American legal advisers, says Kucherena’s statement echoes what they’ve been saying all along. Were Snowden to return, he would face charges under the World War I-era Espionage Act.
“Snowden would be amenable to coming back to the United States for the kind of plea bargain that Gen. [David] Petraeus received,” Radack said, reacting to news that the former general admitted to providing classified information to his mistress while he led the Central Intelligence Agency.
It’s not the first time Snowden has publicly said he wants to return to the U.S.
In an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams last May, he expressed a desire to return but not to “walk into a jail cell to serve as a bad example for other people who see something happen, some violation of the Constitution and think they need to say something about it.”


“I don’t think there’s ever been any question that I’d like to go home,” Snowden said. “I mean, I’ve from Day One said that I’m doing this to serve my country. Now, whether amnesty or clemency ever becomes a possibility is not for me to say.”
Kucherena was promoting his book on his experiences with Snowden, which is being adapted into a major motion picture directed by Oliver Stone and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.


Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/edward-snowden-wants-to-return-us-115697.html#ixzz3TRJHx8Rp


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