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No spoilers! Norway won't tell Snowden if US will snatch him on a visit

Attempt to have Foreign Ministry rule before he lands dismissed by Supreme Court

Whistleblower Edward Snowden will not visit Norway to pick up the Ossietzky Prize, awarded for “outstanding efforts for freedom of expression”, after the nation's Supreme Court decided its foreign ministry does not have to say in advance whether the Russian resident would face extradition.

The United States has charged Snowden with theft of government property and violating its Espionage Act. If Uncle Sam were able to get its hands on Snowden, it would do so gleefully and haul him off to court.

This case turns on whether Norway's foreign ministry must tell Snowden whether it will permit his extradition before he sets foot on Norwegian soil.

The Register's reading of a machine-translated version of the court's decision (PDF in Norwegian) is that the judges feel the court simply has no power under which to compel the ministry to make a ruling unless a formal extradition order is on the table to consider.

Snowden's lawyers argue that the United States indictment and its extradition treaty with Norway means he is ripe for extradition. But the court says it can't rule just because the conditions for extradition exist and that new legislation is needed before it can consider cases like Snowden's.

Snowden's case kicked off in April 2016 and this is the third time it's been heard. It's also the last: the Supreme Court is Norway's ultimate jurisdiction. The whistleblower is therefore highly unlikely to make the trip to pick up the Ossietzky Prize and instead gets to endure another Russian winter. ®

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