22:00 GMT28 May 2020
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    Ex-CIA Employee Discloses US Secret Surveillance Programs (254)
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    The Amnesty International launched a hot air balloon with Edward Snowden's portrait above the Statue of Liberty in New York.

    PARIS (Sputnik) — A prominent human rights watchdog launched a hot air balloon with Edward Snowden's portrait above the Statue of Liberty in New York on Friday in a bid to urge outgoing US President Barack Obama to pardon the whistleblower.

    "What could be a better symbol for protection of the whistleblower, who enabled the whole world to learn about mass surveillance? Courageously giving reporters the documents proving the existence of software that violates people's right to privacy and freedom of expression, Edward Snowden acted as a real defender of personal freedoms," the Amnesty International said in a statement, adding that over a million people worldwide signed the petition urging Obama to issue the pardon.

    A chair is pictured on stage as former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
    © REUTERS / Svein Ove Ekornesvaag/NTB Scanpix
    In 2013, Snowden leaked classified documents pertaining to mass surveillance practices carried out by US authorities around the globe. The same year, Russia granted the whistleblower temporary asylum for one year. In August 2014, Snowden received a three-year residence permit to live in Russia.

    In the United States, Snowden faces up to 30 years in prison on charges of espionage and theft of government property.

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    Ex-CIA Employee Discloses US Secret Surveillance Programs (254)

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    Amnesty International, Edward Snowden, Barack Obama, New York City, United States
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