Russian lawmakers say Snowden deserves Nobel Peace Prize
Some members of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, have voiced their support for Edward Snowden, ex-CIA employee wanted by the US for leaking state secrets, with United Russia representative Alexander Sidyakin saying that Snowden is a worthy candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.
"I join the opinion that we by no means should expel him. I think Snowden is a great pacifist. This man has done no less to get the Nobel Peace Prize than US President Barack Obama," he said at a round table meeting in the Public Chamber on Monday.
A member of the presidential Council for Human Rights Kirill Kabanov has similar opinion. "His motives were not material; his differences were not differences with the ideology of the United States. He defended his own constitution, the defended democracy in the United States," Kabanov was quoted by Voice of Russia as saying.
Russia has previously said it could consider the possibility of granting political asylum to 29-year-old intelligence analyst, if such a request is made.
Edward Snowden reportedly disclosed the existence of PRISM, the NSA’s massive data-mining surveillance program, to UK newspaper The Guardian and the Washington Post. He is believed to have arrived in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport from Hong Kong more than a week ago.
Last Tuesday Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed at a conference in Finland that Snowden was in the transit area of a Moscow airport, that, however, doesn't constitute crossing a country's border. Putin also emphasized that Russia has no extradition agreement with the US, calling Washington’s rhetoric against Moscow as "ravings and rubbish."
In the US Snowden has been charged with theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence. Each of the charges carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.