29 June 2016
A Norwegian court has rejected a petition by whistle blower and former U.S. contractor Edward Snowden, in which he sought assurances he would not be extradited to the U.S. should he visit Norway to accept an award.
The Oslo District Court said it could not rule on the petition, as there was no formal extradition request from the U.S.
Snowden, who currently has asylum in Russia, is wanted by the U.S. government on espionage charges for exposing extensive telephone and internet data collection programmes used by the National Security Agency.
He wants to visit Oslo in November to accept the 2016 Ossietzky Prize from Norway’s PEN Centre for Outstanding Efforts for Freedom of Expression.
The Norwegian branch of writers’ group PEN filed a petition in April to secure Snowden’s safe passage to the Oslo ceremony.
Norwegian PEN President William Nygaard said PEN would appeal the court’s decision.
The Norwegian Union of Journalists, the Association of Norwegian Editors, and the Norwegian Press Association all of which also support Snowden’s petition welcomed the pending appeal.
Meanwhile, the ceremony is set for November 18 at Oslo University.
The award consists of a graphic print and a cash sum of 10,000 kroner (1,230 dollars or N348,090).
The Ossietzky Prize is named after German journalist and pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who won the 1936 Nobel Peace Prize for disclosing Germany’s rearmament programmes, which violated the Treaty of Versailles.
He was jailed for treason and was unable to attend the award ceremony in Oslo 80 years ago.
In 2015, Snowden won another Norwegian freedom of speech award, the Bjornson Prize.