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AKIPRESS.COM - UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has suggested former NSA contractor Edward Snowden should not face prosecution for leaking top secret material, ABC reports.
Speaking at the launch of a report on government surveillance, she said the world “owed a great deal” to Snowden for drawing attention to state snooping.
“Those who disclose human rights violations should be protected, we need them. And I see some of it here in the case of Snowden, because his revelations go to the core of what we are saying about the need for transparency, the need for consultation. Such whistleblowers should be protected from legal reprisals and disciplinary action when disclosing unauthorised information.”
Edward Snowden remains in hiding in Russia after fleeing the U.S. where he faces charges of espionage and theft.
The UN's human rights chief, a former judge at the International Criminal Court, declined to call on U.S. President to pardon Snowden despite being repeatedly pressed on the issue.
“I'm not going to say whether he should be pardoned. He's facing charges, and as a former judge I know that if he's facing judicial proceedings, we should wait for that outcome,” she said.
“If he's given a fair trial and all these points are raised about him, about the way people view his role, that would also be a good outcome.”
Snowden's leaks last year sparked a massive row over the huge Internet and phone data sweeps conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency, including of allied nations and their leaders. He fled to Russia after he leaked details of the secret state surveillance programs.
Moscow is reportedly likely to extend his temporary asylum permit when it runs out at the end of July.