Snowden may get freedom prize at border

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The Storskog border station between Norway and Russia. Photo: Cornelius Poppe/NTB scanpix
11:34 CEST+02:00
The Norwegian academy which gave Edward Snowden a free speech prize is planning to hold a "symbolic ceremony" for the whistleblower at the country's far-northern border with Russia.

The Norwegian Academy of Literature and Freedom of Expression, which awarded the NSA whistleblower its Bjornson prize earlier this year, said that, as Norway's government is still giving no assurances that it will protect Snowden, it could be forced to hold the ceremony at the border. 

"An award ceremony like that would without doubt be very special," Hege Newth Nouri, the academy's head, told state broadcaster NRK.

"As far as I can understand, direct contact at the border is not allowed. In that case, we have to place the prize on the border, and Snowden will walk on from the Russian side to receive it. It would be quite a symbolic ceremony. 

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Nouri is lobbying the Norwegian government to allow Snowden to come to Norway to receive the prize, and to give assurances that he will not be extradited.

But the prospects for such a decision seem slim, as it was revealed yesterday that the Norwegian government had received two requests from the US embassy to extradite Snowden should he arrive on Norwegian soil.

In a letter to the academy in June, Norway's justice minister Anders Anundsen said that the plight of Snowden if he comes to Norway is not a political decision.

“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.

Nouri feels that a ceremony on the border would reflect badly on Norway.
"It would be an embarrassment to Norway," she said.

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