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EXTRADITION

Snowden loses Norway appeal for no-extradition pledge

Norway's supreme court on Friday rejected a final appeal by fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden to secure assurances he would not be extradited to the US should he travel to Norway to collect an award.

Snowden loses Norway appeal for no-extradition pledge
Edward Snowden speaking via satellite as he received the Bjornson prize in September. Photo: Svein Ove Ekornesvåg / NTB scanpix
Just as was the case in an original lawsuit and the subsequent appeal to a lower court in Oslo, the supreme court said it could not evaluate an extradition request preemptively.
   
Former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, Snowden, who lives in exile in Russia, faces charges of espionage and theft of state secrets in his homeland that could land him up to 30 years in jail.
   
It's a further blow for the 33-year-old US citizen and his supporters at the Norwegian branch of the PEN Club who hoped he would be able to pick up the Ossietzky prize, which celebrates “outstanding efforts for freedom of expression.”
   
Norway was one of the countries where Snowden sought asylum after fleeing the United States in 2013, but Oslo's response was that asylum seekers had to be physically present in the country to apply.
   
Considered a whistleblower by some and a traitor by others, Snowden won a similar Norwegian award in 2015, but was likewise unable to collect it.
   
Snowden has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, which is also awarded in Norway, for the last three years, although without winning it.

ITALY

Conditions met to send Krekar to Italy: Norway court

A Norwegian court on Friday confirmed that conditions have been met to extradite a controversial Iraqi Kurdish cleric to Italy to face terrorism-related charges.

Conditions met to send Krekar to Italy: Norway court
Mullah Krekar at the extradition hearing in June. Photo: Terje Pederse/Scanpix
In June, the Oslo District Court had authorised the extradition of the 60-year-old Mullah Krekar, the religious leader of a Kurdish network suspected to be linked to the Islamic State group.
 
A refugee in Norway since 1991 but not a citizen, Krekar is accused by Italy of leading the Rawti Shax, a network that has planned to carry out attacks in the West.
 
Krekar, whose real name is Najmuddin Ahmad Faraj, had appealed the case, which was rejected on Friday by the Oslo appeals court that authorised the extradition of another suspect in the case, Kamil Jalal Fatah.
   
Krekar's lawyer, Brynjar Meling, told AFP that his client was now going to the Supreme Court.
 
Meling said his client had merely made an attempt to form a political party in Iraqi Kurdistan. “This has nothing to do with terrorism,” he told TV2.
 
The lawyer has repeatedly accused Norway of using the case as an excuse to get rid of a cumbersome Krekar, who cannot be deported to his country. Krekar has twice been sentenced to prison in Norway because of threats and inciting violent behaviour.
   
He has been at risk of deportation since 2003 after Norwegian authorities ordered him to be expelled as a threat to national security.  
 
While courts have upheld the ruling, Norwegian law bars him from being deported to Iraq, where he risks the death penalty