NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Photo: Guardian
Norway's justice minister Anders Anundsen on Tuesday sent a letter to The Norwegian Academy of Literature and Freedom of Expression, in which he refused a request to waive passport requirements for Snowden, who was last month awarded the academy's Bjornson prize.
He also confirmed that Snowden risked being arrested if the US, which is seeking to prosecute him for espionage, requested it.
The Academy wrote to Anundsen and Prime Minister Erna Solberg last month, requesting that they take the necessary actions to allow Snowden to come and pick up the prize in September.
But in a letter the academy received on Tuesday afternoon, Anundsen argued that that the passport requirement would only be waived for matters of national interest or security.
He also warned the academy that if Snowden was wanted by another country, he risked being extradited.
“If the courts have concluded that the conditions for extradition are fulfilled, the ministry will decide that the request for extradition will be granted,” Anundsen wrote.
He noted that the Extradition Act allowed the Norwegian authorities to seize a foreign national before it had even received a formal extradition request, if the “competent authority of a foreign state requests it.”
“I’m primarily happy to get a proper answer from Anders Anundsen. He read our letter thoroughly,” Hege Newth Nouri, president of the Academy, told Dagbladet. “But the answers he gives are not surprising.”