News ID: 113239
Published: 0703 GMT March 06, 2015

Snowden: US will not offer me fair trial if I return

Snowden: US will not offer me fair trial if I return

US whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked classified details about mass US surveillance programs, says he will not be offered a fair trial if he returns to the United States.

The former US spy agency contractor, who worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Agency (NSA), spoke from Moscow via a video link to a Toronto audience during a live question and answer discussion on Wednesday.

"I would love to go back and face a fair trial, but unfortunately ... there is no fair trial available, on offer right now," Snowden said. "I've been working exhaustively with the [US] government now since I left to try to find terms of a trial."

Snowden also told the Toronto audience that Canada has the weakest government oversight on its spy agencies among Western countries. "Canadian intelligence has one of the weakest oversight frameworks out of any Western intelligence agency in the world."

On Tuesday, his Russian lawyer said that Snowden has been working with US and German lawyers on a way to return to the United States if he is granted a fair trial, the Associated Press reported.

According to documents leaked by Snowden, the NSA has been collecting the phone records of millions of Americans and foreign nationals as well as political leaders from around the world.

Snowden fled his country in May 2013 to avoid espionage charges. Russia granted him asylum in August of that year.

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