The European Parliament approved a resolution Thursday calling on its member nations to protect Edward Snowden and prevent his extradition to the United States.
In a 285-to-281 vote, the lawmakers called on European nations to “drop any criminal charges against Edward Snowden, grant him protection, and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistle-blower and international human-rights defender.”
The resolution is nonbinding, but it could be an important step toward Snowden getting asylum in a European country. The former National Security Agency contractor who leaked details of the agency’s vast surveillance operations has been living in Russia for more than two years. On Twitter, Snowden called the vote “extraordinary” and a “chance to move forward.”
The U.S. government, however, has no plans to stop its pursuit of the NSA leaker. “Our position has not changed,” Ned Price, a White House spokesman, said in an email. “Mr. Snowden is accused of leaking classified information and faces felony charges here in the United States. As such, he should be returned to the U.S. as soon as possible, where he will be accorded full due process.”