Edward Snowden, the whistleblower that leaked government surveillance details to the public, has a desire to return home. Snowden’s Russian lawyer is talking with United States government officials to see if returning home is a possibility for the young man. He would only return home to America if he were guaranteed a fair trial, according to his lawyer.
In 2013, Russia gave Snowden asylum, which further intensified the tension between Russia and the United States. German and Russian lawyers representing Snowden have made it clear in talks to the American government that he wants to come back home. Both his lawyers and Snowden understand his life would not be normal. He was a normal working-class, educated male before his whistleblowing, and now, he would be under high surveillance, as well as vulnerable to threats from the public. Knowing these circumstances, he has still decided he would like to return home to the country in which he was born.
The U.S. government would allow him to return home if he agreed to go on trial for leaking government secrets. However, the Russian government refuses to release him until a fair trial has been guaranteed. Originally, he was only granted asylum until 2014, one year after his releasing of information, to stay in Russia. However, he has recently been granted an extended permit to stay in Moscow for another three years, if necessary.
Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden’s primary lawyer, has been talking with American lawyers debating his allowance to return home and right to a fair trial. It is uncertain what the trial would decide due to the controversy of the American public over this issue. Many Americans and other countries support Snowden and his uncovering of government secrets concerning the public while many others find him to be a threat to national security.
This past year, a documentary was released following Snowden in real time when he released the information to the public. The film, Citizen Four, has been a major positive factor for Snowden. Many people, including some high status politicians, admitted they did not fully understand the reasons Snowden had for “putting America at risk” until after watching the movie. This documentary may encourage the United States government to allow him to return home now that his story was made public from his point of view.
After Snowden took asylum in Russia in 2013, his long time girlfriend was left behind not knowing the details of her partner’s disappearance. The following year, she was able to meet Snowden in Moscow and take joint asylum with him. Even though the couple is happy to be together, Snowden’s lawyer has said that they both wish to return to their lives and families back in America.
It is uncertain what the public’s response may be if Snowden’s talks of returning home to the United States become a reality. He would without a doubt have both a group of supporters as well as a group of haters. Many conservatives consider him a spy; an individual who put the national security of America at risk. Liberals tend to perceive him as another whistleblower in the fight for free speech.
By Audrey Madden
Photo by – Mike Licht Flickr Page – License