Supreme Court rejects Edward Snowden’s lawsuit for safe passage to Norway


Supreme Court rejects Edward Snowden’s lawsuit for safe passage to Norway

Whistleblower Edward Snowden’s lawsuit against the Norwegian state to establish that Norway has no right to extradite him to the United States, was rejected by the Supreme Court yesterday. Snowden has, with Norwegian PEN and the Norwegian press organizations as intervention parties, sued the Norwegian state to ensure a safe passage to Norway to receive the Ossietzky prize for 2016 in Oslo.

– Just as Carl von Ossietzky in his time was not permitted to come to Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Snowden has been prevented from coming here to receive the Ossietzky Prize. Our battle is lost, but the long term goal remains the same: that Edward Snowden, and others who report misconduct, must be able to do so this without fear of prosecution and in the worst case, life imprisonment, says William Nygaard, President of Norwegian PEN.

Norwegian PEN, in collaboration with PEN International, will intensify their efforts to shed light on the whistleblower’s lack of protection in international law. Equally important is to prove that mass surveillance is a threat to our freedoms as individuals. Efforts to protect Edward Snowden’s position as a whistleblower and human rights advocate will prevail.

In what appears to be political loyalty to the US, the Norwegian government decided to not confirm that Snowden could come to Norway without fear of extradition. Thus, the request had to be tried in court. The lawsuit has been tried by the District Court and Court of Appeal with negative outcome. The verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court.

The court’s main argument is that the US government has only requested extradition if Snowden comes to Norway, furthermore that the formal extradition request has not been handed over to Norwegian authorities. Thus, the lawsuit is basically rejected on formal grounds.

Norwegian PEN will travel to Moscow to give the award to Edward Snowden.

William Nygaard, head of the Norwegian PEN: +47 908 92 601
Hege Newth Nouri, General Secretary of Norwegian PEN: +47 930 02 262