Edward Snowden is ready to leave his Russian safe haven and come back to the United States to face a court as long as a few things are agreed on.
“Edward Snowden is ready to return to the U.S., but on the condition that he be given … a fair and impartial trial,” lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
Kucherena said he received a letter from the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder promising Snowden would not face capital punishment should he return.
“That is, they guarantee that Snowden will not be executed, not that he will receive a fair trial. And it is guaranteed by the attorney general who cannot even influence court decisions according to law,” Kucherena said.
Kucherena spoke at a news conference in Moscow while promoting a book he has written about Snowden.
“I won’t keep it secret that he… wants to return back home,” Reuters reported. “And we are doing everything possible now to solve this issue. There is a group of U.S. lawyers, there is also a group of German lawyers and I’m dealing with it on the Russian side.”
He said he does not trust some countries who said they would protect Snowden.
“Snowden can leave the Russian territory with his residence permit. But I suspect that as soon as he leaves Russia, he will be delivered to the U.S. Embassy,” TASS quoted Kucherena as saying.
Snowden, now 31, is a North Carolina native who once spent four months in the Army. He was a contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton when he leaked details of U.S. surveillance programs to The Guardian and The Washington Post. The first reports were published in June 2013, setting off an immediate global firestorm.
Snowden, who was in hiding in Hong Kong at the time, fled to Moscow. Facing charges of violating the Espionage Act and theft of government property, he stayed in Russia when the U.S. revoked his passport. Now he works in IT in Moscow and consults for several U.S. companies, Kucherena said. He added that Snowden is learning Russian.
Kucherena said Snowden’s girlfriend Lindsay Mills “comes to Russia, they love each other and they have been together for many years. She continues to stand by his side.”