Pirate Captain Birgitta Jónsdóttir met with Edward Snowden in Moscow on Tuesday. She told RÚV he would be ready to come to Iceland and become an Icelandic citizen. In her view, Iceland should grant him citizenship.
Snowden, a former CIA employee, leaked thousands of classified documents from the National Security Agency in 2013, revealing numerous US surveillance programs worldwide, launched following the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2011. If he returns to the US, he could be convicted of treason and imprisoned for 30 years.
Birgitta took a short trip to Moscow, the purpose of which was to take part in a documentary about the state of democracy, being filmed by a French female journalist, and also, to meet with Snowden, who has been at a secret location in Moscow for more than three years. The two had never met before.
She stated she is worried about Snowden’s situation, now that a new president has been elected in the US. President Elect Donald Trump has declared that Snowden deserves the death sentence. Birgitta said no one knew what would happen once he takes office in January.
“Many people are worried that Snowden’s situation is not as safe as it used to be. Russia was probably the safest place in the world for him. High-ranking officials in the US have often discussed among themselves that he deserves to be killed, that a drone should be sent to shoot him down,” Birgitta stated.
Snowden has applied for citizenship in a number of countries, Iceland among them, but to no avail. In 2013, MPs of the Pirate Party, the Social Democratic Alliance, Bright Future and the Left-Green Movement presented a bill in Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, suggesting he be granted citizenship.
According to Birgitta, the only protection Snowden could get is to be granted citizenship.
“He would be ready to come to Iceland,” she told RÚV. She admitted that although he were granted citizenship, he would not be able to come to Iceland for the time being, since there is no safe way for him to travel here.
Many of those who fought for Bobby Fischer to be granted citizenship would like Iceland to make this step, Birgitta stated. “We must somehow have the courage to support democracy and this one step in that direction.”
Most of all, Snowden would like to return to the US, according to Birgitta, as long as he is granted a fair trial, open to the media, with a jury, where he could discuss the reason for his acts.
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In brief | Pirate Party
What: A pro-free speech, anti-authoritarian political party in Iceland
Founders: A group of anarchists, hackers and internet-freedom activists
Leader: The party eschews formal leaders but Birgitta Jonsdottir is the most senior of three Pirate lawmakers in Iceland’s parliament
“I would like everybody in Iceland to find the pirate within, because the pirate within really represents change and a collective vision for the future.”
- Birgitta Jonsdottir, Pirate Party lawmaker