Anatoly Kucherena, one of Edward Snowden’s lawyers, told Russian media outlet TASS that he and other lawyers are working on the “legal aspect” of Snowden’s possible return to the United States. Snowden, who has been in Russia since 2013 after exposing the NSA’s data collection practices, is reportedly open to returning to the United States if he is assured a fair trial.
“Edward Snowden is ready to return to the US, but on the condition that he will be given guarantees on receiving a fair and impartial trial,” Kucherena said. A letter sent to Kucherena by Attorney General Eric Holder in 2013 had included a promise that Snowden wouldn’t face the death penalty upon his return to the United States. Kucherena said, “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.”
Snowden told Brian Williams last year that he wanted to go home. “I don’t think there’s ever been any question that I’d like to go home,” Snowden had said, but also acknowledged there was no guarantee of amnesty or clemency. Snowden told Williams that he didn’t want to return home to a jail cell to serve as a “bad example for other people in government who see something happening, some violation of the Constitution, and think they need to say something about it.”
If Snowden was to return to the United States, he would face charges under the Espionage Act. He has been provided a 3-year residency permit in Russia after his temporary asylum expired last August.