U.S. Promises Not to Torture, Kill Edward Snowden

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Photo: Tanya Lokshina/HRW

In a polite letter to Russia, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder suggested that maybe airport dweller Edward Snowden should not be granted asylum, because nothing bad is going to happen to him (except maybe a decade in prison for espionage). "Mr. Snowden has filed papers seeking temporary asylum in Russia on the grounds that if he were returned to the United States, he would be tortured and would face the death penalty," Holder wrote to Russia's Minister of Justice. "These claims are entirely without merit."

"First, the United States would not seek the death penalty for Mr. Snowden should he return to the United States. The charges he faces do not carry that possibility, and the United States would not seek the death penalty even if Mr. Snowden were charged with additional, death penalty-eligible crimes," he continued. "Second, Mr. Snowden will not be tortured. Torture is unlawful in the United States." Come home, Mr. Snowden — we just have a few questions for you ...