Former U.S. contractor and American “whistle blower” Edward Snowden’s a legal bid to win guarantees from Norway that it would not extradite him to the United States if he went there to receive a free speech award was rejected by a Norwegian court on Monday. If Snowden travels to Norway to receive the award he was nominated for he risks being turned over to American police.
The United States has filed espionage charges against Snowden for leaking details of extensive U.S. surveillance programs. Snowden was granted asylum in Russia and has been living there since 2013.
Snowden is attempting to enter Norway to receive a freedom of speech award from the local branch of writers’ group PEN International. However, Norway has strong diplomatic ties with the U.S. which has led Snowden to believe he will be turned over if not granted legal protection.
The Olso court dismissed the case on a technicality. They claim the country’s extradition laws only apply to people who are already in the country and that the justice ministry can not issue a decision on whether or not to extradite someone who lives abroad.
Snowden’s lawyers are expected to appeal the case in the upcoming days. Jon Wessel-Aas, who is representing three Norwegian press organizations acting as the third-party interveners supporting Snowden’s lawsuit, stated that the group feels the court is attempting to avoid the issue based on the technicality to avoid friction with the U.S. “We believe the court is being too formalistic,” said Wessel-Aas.
Snowden is expected to pay the court the equivalent of $823.64 to cover legal expenses for reviewing the case.
Snowden and his lawyers will continue to push for freedom of passage to Norway. They have acknowledged that the U.S. currently does not have a extradition request pending on Snowden but have commented that they believe one will be issued as soon as he crosses the border into Norway.