Snowden 'ready to return to US', claims lawyer
But only if he’s promised a 'legal and impartial trial'
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is ready to return home to the US, according to his Russian lawyer.
However, the former sysadmin – who is central in the biggest single leak of classified intelligence – would only return on condition that he was promised a fair trial.
“Snowden is ready to return to the States, but on the condition that he is given a guarantee of a legal and impartial trial," his Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told a news conference on Tuesday, AFP reports.
“He is thinking about it. He has a desire to return and we are doing everything we can to make it happen," he added.
The former NSA contractor has been in Russia since 2013 after hot footing it to the country via Hong Kong after leaking a huge cache of classified national security files to journalists.
US authorities requested that he ought to be handed over when he surfaced at Moscow airport. The best assurance he's received since is a confirmation from the US Attorney General that he will not face the death penalty.
Faced with no easy means to reach a friendly country that might grant him asylum – some backtracked from offers, possibly under US pressure – Snowden has been stuck in Russia.
Snowden was given political asylum in Russia in the summer of 2013 which has since been extended to three years residency permit. He lives a "reclusive life", according to AFP.
It's not all doom and gloom though. Recently Snowden's partner Lindsay Mills reportedly began living with him in Moscow.
Kucherena's comments came during a press conference accompanying the release of a thriller loosely based on the Snowden affair. ®