10:24 GMT02 August 2021
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    American whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted Sunday that he is "not afraid" of being sent back to the US, which some have suggested Russia might do as a "gift" to new US President Donald Trump.

    Snowden had previously mocked the sudden mushrooming of rumors saying a transfer was in the works, joking that they finally offered proof that he wasn't working with Russian intelligence, as "no country trades away spies." 

    Snowden's lawyer also pooh-poohed the suggestion.

    Today, Snowden suggested that the rumors cropped up to scare him after he criticized a package of amendments to Russia's criminal code, called the Yarovaya Law, which he called "Big Brother" laws. According to information he shared on Twitter, the new laws, taking effect in 2018, will, among other things, require Russian telecom and internet service providers to store all customer traffic for six months, as well as criminalize a range of expression under the guise of supporting terrorism and potentially limit freedom of assembly in the country. 

    Snowden, of course, famously helped reveal to the world the extend of the US's massive, illegal surveillance program when he shared documentation on it with WikiLeaks in 2013.

    "Days ago, I criticized the Russian government's oppressive new "Big Brother" law. Now, threatening rumors. But I won't stop," he tweeted, following it up with "I don't know if the rumors are true. But I can tell you this: I am not afraid. There are things that must be said no matter the consequence."

    Trump called Snowden a traitor and suggested he should be executed before beginning his presidential campaign. During the campaign, he said Snowden should be dealt with "harshly." He also said if he won the election, Russia would return the whistleblower.  

    Snowden faces charges of espionage and theft of government property in the US. He has been living in Russia since 2013.


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    Russia, US, Edward Snowden, National Security Agency (NSA), extradition, surveillance, law
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