U.S. assures Russia Snowden won’t be tortured or executed

A television screen shows former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden during a news bulletin at a cafe at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport July 24, 2013.  Credit: Reuters
A television screen shows former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden during a news bulletin at a cafe at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport July 24, 2013.
Credit: Reuters

Former U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden would not face the death penalty or be tortured and would have all the protections of the U.S. civilian court system if he were sent home, the chief U.S. prosecutor wrote in a letter to his Russian counterpart this week.

In the letter dated Tuesday July 23 and released on Friday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder wrote that he sought to dispel claims about what would happen to Snowden if Russia handed him over to face charges of illegally disclosing government secrets about surveillance programs.

Snowden, 30, has been stuck at a Moscow airport for more than a month while he searches for a country that will grant him asylum and avoid the criminal charges.

Russia has refused to hand over Snowden, who leaked details of secret U.S. electronic surveillance programs to British and U.S. media, to the United States, and is considering a temporary asylum request.

“We believe that these assurances eliminate these asserted grounds for Mr. Snowden’s claim that he should be treated as a refugee or granted asylum, temporary or otherwise,” Holder wrote in the two-page letter to Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov.

Holder, the head of the U.S. Justice Department and an appointee of President Barack Obama, also promised that Snowden could have a lawyer with him for any questioning.

Citing media reports, Holder wrote that “Mr. Snowden has filed papers seeking temporary asylum in Russia on the grounds that if he were returned to the United States, he would be tortured and would face the death penalty. These claims are entirely without merit.”

Snowden’s supporters have worried he could face the same fate as Private First Class Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier accused of providing documents to WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group. Upon his arrest, Manning was placed in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day with guards checking on him every few minutes.

“Torture is unlawful in the United States,” Holder wrote, without explicit reference to Manning. “If he returns to the United States, Mr. Snowden would promptly be brought before a civilian court.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Local

Bushwick community space offers activists a place to…

A new Bushwick community space offers community activists to meet, create, learn and throw back a few cold ones. MayDay, located 214 Starr Street in Bushwick,…

Local

Activists gearing up for Sunday's "historic" People's Climate…

If all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather near Central Park West on Sunday morning and march through midtown to raise…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and a being called Emily get…

Esperanza Spalding is about to spiral off in a brand new direction that may or may include an alter ego named Emily.

Movies

Review: Bickering family dramedy 'This is Where I…

A talented cast sits Shiva in the bickering family dramedy "This is Where I Leave You," although it's more sap than yuks.

Movies

Review: Desert-walking movie 'Tracks' would be better as…

Mia Wasikowska walks 1700 miles across Australia's deserts in "Tracks," in a story that defies triumph-of-the-spirit cliches but gets some of them anyway.

NFL

J.J. Watt poses unique challenges to struggling Giants…

Watt, arguably the best defensive player in the league, is the leader of a surprising Texans (2-0) team that has already matched last season’s win total.

NFL

Eric Decker 'unlikely to play' against Bears: Source

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker's status for Monday night’s game against the Bears is in doubt after he missed practice again Wednesday.

NFL

Preston Parker, not Odell Beckham, will replace Jerrel…

Tom Coughlin noted the next man up will be unheralded veteran Preston Parker.

NFL

NFL Week 3 full schedule (kickoff time, TV)

NFL Week 3 full schedule (kickoff time, TV)

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…