The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

July 26, 2013

U.S. govt says won't seek death penalty for Snowden

(Continued)

The attorney general said that if Snowden returned to the U.S. he would promptly be brought before a civilian court and would receive "all the protections that United States law provides."

Holder also said that "we understand from press reports and prior conversations between our governments that Mr. Snowden believes that he is unable to travel out of Russia and must therefore take steps to legalize his status. That is not accurate; he is able to travel."

Despite the revocation of Snowden's passport on June 22, Snowden remains a U.S. citizen and is eligible for a limited validity passport good for direct return to the United States, said the attorney general.

A spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said Russia has not budged from its refusal to extradite Snowden.

Snowden, who is believed to have been staying at the Moscow airport transit zone since June 23, applied for temporary asylum in Russia last week. The United States wants him sent home to face prosecution for espionage.

Asked by a reporter whether the government's position had changed, Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies that "Russia has never extradited anyone and never will." There is no U.S.-Russia extradition treaty.

Peskov also said that Putin is not involved in reviewing Snowden's application or discussions of the ex-NSA contractor's future with the U.S., though the Russian Security Service, the FSB, had been in touch with the FBI.

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