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Eric Holder Says Snowden Won't Be Tortured If Handed Over To U.S.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder wrote in a letter to Russia dated July 23 that if former security contractor Edward Snowden were extradited back to the United States, that he would be protected under the U.S. civilian court system and would not be tortured or face the death penalty.

Reuters reports that Russia has refused to turn Snowden, 30, over to authorities in the United States. For the past month, Snowden has been hiding out at an airport in Moscow while attempting to seek asylum.

"We believe that these assurances eliminate these asserted grounds for Mr. Snowden's claim that he should be treated as a refugee or granted asylum, temporary or otherwise," Holder wrote in the two-page letter to Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov. "Torture is unlawful in the United States," Holder wrote, without explicit reference to Manning. "If he returns to the United States, Mr. Snowden would promptly be brought before a civilian court."

Holder also said that Snowden could have a lawyer present for any questioning if he is handed over.

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