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Snowden Takes Norway to Court to Secure Free-Passage

American whistleblower Edward Snowden delivers remarks via video link from Moscow to attendees at a discussion regarding an International Treaty on the Right to Privacy, Protection Against Improper Surveillance and Protection of Whistleblowers in Manhattan, NY.

A Norwegian law firm says it has filed a lawsuit with an Oslo court so American whistleblower Edward Snowden - the leaker of U.S. government documents - can safely travel to Norway for a prestigious award ceremony without fear of extradition to the United States.

Lawyers at the Schjodt law firm in the Norwegian capital said they filed the petition on behalf of the former U.S. intelligence contractor and the Norwegian PEN, which has invited him to receive its Ossietzky Prize for 2016 on November 18.

The lawsuit asserts that the extradition of Snowden would be contrary to Norwegian and international laws, and for that Schjodt is seeking a declaratory judgment from the court.

The U.S. Espionage Act prohibits Snowden or any whistleblower in his position from raising any defense that he acted in the public interest, that the disclosures benefited society, or that the disclosed information had been improperly withheld by the government, Schjodt said.

Norwegian PEN has awarded Snowden the Ossietzky Prize for 2016 for his contribution to defend freedom of expression, the group said in a statement, and will do its utmost to ensure that Snowden may receive the prize in person.

In 2013, the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor leaked to the press details of a secret government eavesdropping program and left the country.

Under the U.S. Espionage Act, Snowden faces charges in the U.S. that could land him in prison for up to 30 years.

PEN is the original acronym for "Poets, Essayists, Novelists" and now it stands for "Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, Novelists." It includes writers of any form of literature, such as journalists and historians.