Switzerland ‘unlikely’ to extradite Snowden if he testifies against NSA
Mon 8 Sep 2014
The Swiss attorney general has reportedly said that Edward Snowden will not be extradited to the US if he travels to Switzerland and testifies about the National Security Agency’s spying activities.
Reports in Sunday’s Le Matin Dimanche and Sonntags Zeitung quoted a document written last November by the attorney general, illustrating the legal implications of a potential visit from Snowden. The document stated that the Swiss authorities would not extradite a US citizen if their “actions constitute a political offense, or if the request has been politically motivated,” and if “higher state obligations” did not override them.
Snowden’s legal representative in Switzerland, Marcel Bosonnet , has suggested that “the legal requirements for safe conduct are met” and that Snowden has already shown interest in testifying and taking asylum there.
Sarah Progin-Theuerkauf, immigration rights activist, also explained that Snowden could have a chance at being granted Swiss asylum following a testimony.
“There is evidence that Edward Snowden meets the criteria of refugee status under the Geneva Convention and therefore should be granted asylum,” she told Sonntags Zeitung.
Currently Snowden is residing in Russia, where he has been granted a three-year residency permit, with the option to travel outside of Russian borders for up to three months at a time.
Snowden has already given testimony remotely to the European Parliament, however has not yet left Russia as no European country has been able to guarantee his safety from extradition.
A year ago reports announced that Snowden had attempted to seek asylum in Switzerland, but his request had been denied by the Swiss authorities.
However, Swiss politicians are now pushing the move. “We must now move forward, so that Snowden can travel to Switzerland as a witness as soon as possible,” said Luzi Stamm of the Swiss People’s Party SVP. He continued that the Swiss people had the right to know the truth behind the NSA surveillance operations.