Copenhagen: A Norwegian appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit seeking a legal guarantee to allow Edward Snowden to travel to Norway without risk of being extradited to the United States.
The Borgating court upheld on Wednesday a ruling by a lower district court saying it cannot issue such a guarantee for someone who isn't present in Norway.
An Oslo law firm filed the lawsuit in April on behalf of the former National Security Agency contractor and the Norwegian chapter of PEN that had invited Snowden to receive its Ossietzky Prize in November. The literary group had appealed the Oslo district court June ruling.
Snowden, who is currently in Russia, faces US charges that could land him in prison for up to 30 years for leaking details of a secret US eavesdropping programme.
Snowden was an National Security Agency contract employee when he took more than a million documents and leaked them to journalists who revealed massive domestic surveillance programs begun in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The programs collected the telephone metadata records of millions of Americans and examined emails from overseas.
His revelations about the agency's bulk collection of millions of Americans' phone records set off a fierce debate that pitted civil libertarians concerned about privacy against more hawkish lawmakers fearful about losing tools to combat terrorism. Democrats and libertarian-leaning Republicans pushed through a reauthorisation of the USA Patriot Act last year that ended the programme.
Snowden then fled to Hong Kong, then Russia, to avoid prosecution. Human rights groups are seeking a presidential pardon, saying he helped his country by revealing secret domestic surveillance programs. The American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are behind the campaign to pardon him.