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Holder To Russian Minster Of Justice: "Mr. Snowden Will Not Be Tortured"

In a letter made public on Friday, the Attorney General calls Snowden's grounds for asylum "entirely without merit."

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In a letter sent to Russian Minister of Justice Alexander Konovalov on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder argued that Russia has no reason to grant asylum or refugee status to former NSA contractor and U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden.

Holder writes that Snowden, who fled his Hawaii home after leaking hundreds of documents about secret NSA surveillance programs, will receive a fair trial and "all the protections that United States law provides to persons charged with federal criminal offenses." He promises that government prosecutors will not seek the death penalty against Snowden and that Snowden will not be tortured.

The letter was made public on Friday. On Wednesday, it was reported that Russia was ready to let Snowden leave the transit zone of Moscow's airport and safely — albeit temporarily — enter Russian territory.

Snowden decided to pursue asylum in Russia after determining he could not travel to the Latin American countries offering him asylum without being intercepted by the U.S.

All reports indicate that Snowden is still living at Sheremetyevo Airport.

Read Holder's full letter:

Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Jessica Testa at

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