Edward Snowden campaigners have launched a push for a pardon by the US president.
The former contractor for the country’s National Security Agency faces prosecution for stealing classified documents.
If convicted, he faces prison under the Espionage Act.
“This World War I-era law does not distinguish between those who freely give critical information to journalists in the public interest, or spies who sell it to a foreign power for their own,” pointed out Snowden at a news conference in New York.”
My concern here is not just myself. If I or other whistleblowers are sentences to long years in prison without so much as a chance to explain our motivations to a jury, it will have a deeply chilling effect on future whistle blowers working as i did to expose government abuse and overreach,” continued Snowden.
‘Snowden’ Moscow premiere
The Pardon Snowden campaign is supported by human rights groups and coincides with the release of ‘Snowden’ directed by veteran filmmaker Oliver Stone which premiered in Moscow on Tuesday (September 13) night.
The film, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, follows the journey of Edward Snowden from the army to the CIA and then his resulting infamy as he leaks classified information about global surveillance programs.
Snowden wasn’t at the premiere but his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said his client’s reaction to the film was very positive.
“We were watching the film under strict control by Oliver Stone himself who first of all asked us to switch off our phones and close the curtains. Ed’s reaction to it was very positive,” said Kucherena. “He was strong enough to tell the world what he knew, he didn’t get scared. He’s the most wanted person in the world now.”
Other guests included Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman.
“Before Snowden everyone was joking that ‘Big brother is watching you’ and then we suddenly learned that he actually was watching,” said Peskov. “Understanding that we all live in an aquarium – and that understanding is exactly what Snowden gave us – is much more important than evaluation of what he did. At least that’s my opinion.”