New York, Sep 17 (IANS) Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has joined a growing list of celebrities and other public figures rooting for a presidential pardon for whistleblower Edward Snowden.
#PardonSnowden, Dorsey tweeted on Twitter.
The Pardon Snowden campaign, launched by three human rights groups, replied with a thanking note.
Besides Dorsey, others supporting the campaign are heavyweights like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, author Joyce Carol Oates, actor Danny Glover, Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Britain-based human rights group Amnesty International, Mishi Choudhary, technology lawyer and legal director of Software Freedom Law Centre, and US-based Human Rights Watch.
The campaign, launched on Wednesday, can be accessed on pardonsnowden.org and is also supported by Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the human rights organisation American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who said that Snowden should be thanked, not punished and should be allowed to return the US.
Snowden, a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, revealed government surveillance programmes to the media. He currently lives in self-imposed exile in Russia to avoid charges in the US for violating the Espionage Act and other laws.
According to Romero, if Snowden were to face trial, he would have no opportunity to argue that he performed a public service. Under the Espionage Act, such an argument would be useless.
Snowden joined the launch of the campaign via teleconference from Russia and said, “While I am grateful for the support given to my case, this really is not about me. It is about us. It is about our right to dissent.”
The White House has said it had no plans to pardon Snowden.
“Snowden has been charged with serious crimes, and it is the policy of the administration that Snowden should return to the US and face those charges. There are mechanisms in our criminal justice system to ensure that he’s treated fairly and consistent with the law,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
According to a report on online portal Fast Company, 10,000 people signed a petition by Wednesday night. The campaign said they were getting nearly 2,000 new signatures on the petition every hour and expect the total to get a lot bigger.
On Wednesday night, Snowden was beamed into Manhattan’s Upper West Side, to join the audience in singing “Happy Birthday” to Oliver Stone, director of “Snowden”, the new biopic released on Friday.