Edward Snowden to return to US if fair trial is granted

Former NSA contractor Snowden says he is willing to be extradited to US if government could guarantee fair trial

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, speaks via video conference to people in the Johns Hopkins University auditorium in Baltimore, Feb. 17, 2016.

The former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden told an audience of supporters in New Hampshire via Skype from Russia that he is willing to be extradited to the US if the federal government could guarantee he would get a fair trial.

Snowden wants a trial where he "can make a public interest defense of why this was done and allow the jury to decide if it was right or wrong.”

More than 400 people, most of them members of the Free State project watched him in a meeting room at the Radisson Center of New Hampshire.

Libertarians see Snowden as a folk-hero, leaked details of a secret government eavesdropping program and left the country in 2013.

He faces US charges that could land him in prison for up to 30 years.

Snowden previously said that he volunteered to go to prison for stealing secret documents.

“But I said I wouldn't allow myself to be held up as a deterrent to other people who are trying to do the right thing. And that was fundamentally contrary to what the government was trying to do,” he added.

Snowden said he asked for a guarantee of a fair trial where he can make "a public interest defense" then have jurors decide his case.

“I owe my first duty, my first allegiance ... to fixing my country before I try to solve the problems of the rest of the world,” he said. “We've got to get our own house in order first,” he added.

TRTWorld and agencies