Holder: Snowden won't face death penalty

In a letter to the Russian government, the U.S. Attorney General said the leaker won't be executed

By Alex Halperin
Published July 26, 2013 3:32PM (EDT)

Attorney General Eric Holder said the U.S. won't seek the death penalty for Edward Snowden, the fugitive who leaked classified practices of the National Security Administration to journalists. Snowden, who has applied for asylum in Russia, has been living in the transit zone of a Moscow airport for more than a month and has applied for temporary asylum in Russia. If he returned to the U.S. he would face espionage charges.

CBS reports:

Holder says his letter follows news reports that Snowden, who leaked information on largely secret electronic surveillance programs, has filed papers seeking temporary asylum in Russia on grounds that if he were returned to the United States, he would be tortured and would face the death penalty.

The attorney general's letter was sent to Alexander Vladimirovich Konovalov, the Russian minister of justice.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said, "Russia has never extradited anyone and never will."

Alex Halperin

Alex Halperin is news editor at Salon. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhalperin.

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Edward Snowden Eric Holder Legal Issues National Security Russia Vladimir Putin