The European Parliament has voted to grant Edward Snowden amnesty in 28 European Union states.
The Parliament carried a vote of 285 to 281 to grant Edward Snowden protection from extradition or rendition by third parties.
The 285 votes in favour of the recommendation are not legally binding in any way and do not circumvent the extradition treaties EU countries have with the United States. This does however give EU countries the ability to grant Snowden amnesty and perhaps influence countries which are pursuing prosecution to drop charges.
Snowden responded to the news through a tweet saying that he saw this as an open hand being extended by friends rather than an attack on the US government.
This is not a blow against the US Government, but an open hand extended by friends. It is a chance to move forward. pic.twitter.com/fBs5H32wyD
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 29, 2015
The United States National Security council has issued a statement in which spokesperson, Ned Price said, “Mr. Snowden is accused of leaking classified information and faces felony charges here in the United States. As such, he should be returned to the U.S. as soon as possible, where he will be accorded full due process”. Clearly then, the US government still wants to bring Snowden to task for leaking details about government surveillance back in 2013.
Snowden is currently in Russia where he is protected by a three-year asylum agreement though that agreement will expire in 2016, making votes such as this one all the more important for the whistleblower.