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Norwegian court rejects Edward Snowden lawsuit on free passage

Edward Snowden

Former US spy contractor Edward Snowden has failed in 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, a Norwegian court said on Monday.

Snowden’s law firm said in April he would take the state to court to secure free passage to the Nordic country. The United States has filed espionage charges against him for leaking details of extensive US surveillance programmes. He was granted asylum in Russia, which borders Norway, in 2013.

“Oslo District Court has decided that the lawsuit from Edward Snowden against the State regarding extradition, should be dismissed,” the court said in a statement.

Snowden had been invited to Norway to receive a freedom of speech award from the local branch of writers’ group PEN International, but worried that he would be handed over to the United States, his lawyers have said.

The Norwegian court said the country’s extradition laws only apply to people who are already in the country, and that the justice ministry could not be compelled to issue a decision on whether or not to extradite someone who lives abroad.

As part of the verdict, Snowden was also ordered to pay 7,000 Norwegian crowns ($823.64) to the government to cover legal expenses.

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