Darya Korsunskaya and David Ingram
July 26, 2013
The United States has made a formal promise to Russia not to execute or torture Edward Snowden if he is sent home to face charges of illegally disclosing government secrets, and the Kremlin said Russian and U.S. security agencies are in talks over his fate.
The 30-year-old former U.S. spy agency contractor has been stuck in the transit area of a Moscow airport for more than a month despite Washington’s calls to hand him over.
Russia has refused to extradite Snowden, who leaked details of a secret U.S. surveillance program including phone and Internet data, and is now considering his request for a temporary asylum.
In a 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 he is sent home.
“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,” Holder wrote.