European Union lawmakers voted today (Oct. 29) to urge member states to drop criminal charges against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and to block his extradition to the United States. The resolution, part of a growing European backlash against US surveillance, was passed by a narrow margin, 285 to 281.
The EU resolution calls for member states to “drop any criminal charges against Edward Snowden, grant him protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistle-blower and international human rights defender.” The lawmakers also said in a statement that there has been too little done ”to safeguard citizens’ fundamental rights following revelations of electronic mass surveillance.”
Snowden has been living in Russia since 2013. Under current extradition treaties, if he were to enter any of the 28 EU countries, he would sent back to the United States, where he is wanted on espionage charges.