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Edward Snowden to Sue Norway to Avoid Extradition to U.S. Over Spying Charges

Snowden, in exile in Moscow, has been invited to Norway to receive a freedom of speech award from a branch of the writers' group PEN International.
Image: Image: Edward Snowden Meets With German Green Party MP Hans-Christian Stroebele In Moscow
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden during a meeting with German Green Party MP Hans-Christian Stroebele (not pictured) regarding being a witness for a possible investigation into NSA spying in Germany, on October 31, 2013 in Moscow, Russia. Sunshinepress via Getty Images, file
/ Source: Reuters

OSLO — Edward Snowden will sue the Norwegian state in a bid to secure free passage to the Scandinavian country, a Norwegian law firm representing the former U.S. spy contractor said on Thursday.

Related: Snowden: I've Offered to Go to Prison in U.S. 'Many Times'

Snowden has been invited to Norway to receive a freedom of speech award from the Norwegian branch of writers' group PEN International, but according to his lawyers he is worried that he would be handed over to the United States.

"The purpose is to get legally established that Norway has no right to extradite Snowden to the U.S.," the law firm, Schjoedt, said in a statement.

"U.S. authorities have already asked that Snowden will be extradited to the U.S. if he was to arrive in Norway," Hallvard Helle, the lawyer representing Snowden, told Reuters.

Related: Information Wants to Be Free: Famous Leaks Through the Ages

"It is a case they (the Norwegian authorities) have not wished to comment on previously, so therefore we want a legal clarification of this," Helle said, when asked whether Norway had said it would extradite Snowden if he entered the country.

The Norwegian justice ministry was not immediately able to comment.

Supporters see Snowden as a whistleblower who boldly exposed government excess. The U.S. government has filed espionage charges against him for leaking intelligence information. Snowden fled the U.S. in May 2013 and has been living in Russia where he was granted asylum.