Should Edward Snowden be pardoned

Trump pardons a deceased campaigner for women's suffrage - and not Edward Snowden

The American president had announced that he would pardon “a very important person” on Tuesday - and by electing a suffragette, he was probably looking at female voters. Just a few days ago, when asked, Trump said that he wanted to examine a pardon for whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Women's rights activist Susan B. Anthony had been convicted of casting her vote in the 1872 presidential election. Almost 150 years later, she has now been pardoned. "I've just signed the papers," said Donald Trump on Tuesday. The American President had previously announced the move at a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the right to vote for women in the United States in the White House.

The trial of Anthony in 1873 fueled the women's movement in the USA, also because her appearance in court caused a sensation. She was sentenced to a fine. Women's suffrage was introduced in the United States in August 1920 with the 19th Amendment to the American Constitution. Anthony died in 1906 at the age of 86.

"She was never pardoned," said Trump. He had announced the day before that he would pardon a “very important person” on Tuesday, but immediately restricted that it was not about the NSA revelator Edward Snowden or his former security advisor Michael Flynn.

Pardon for whistleblower Snowden not excluded

Just a few days ago, Trump said he wanted to look into a pardon for whistleblower Edward Snowden, who seven years ago revealed the sprawling surveillance system of American intelligence services. Although he was not particularly familiar with the matter, "but I'll look at it," said Trump on Saturday (local time) in response to a question from reporters at a press conference. Snowden was granted asylum in Russia, where he was stranded while fleeing.

The question to Trump came after the president told the New York Post that a lot of people believed that Snowden had not been treated fairly. Trump said there were different opinions about Snowden: "Some people think he should be treated differently, others think he did very bad things."

In 2013, Snowden had given several journalists a large number of confidential documents from the American interception service NSA and its British partner GCHQ. The material revealed a profound system of Internet and telecommunications surveillance by American intelligence agencies and their British allies.

In the US, Snowden was accused of espionage and theft of state property. He first fled to Hong Kong. On the onward flight to Ecuador, he was stranded at a Moscow airport because the USA had canceled his passport. Snowden got asylum in Russia, after an extension currently until 2020. He tried in vain to get asylum in an EU country like Germany or France. Because of the publication of his memoirs, the American government initiated another case against him in 2019 for breach of his confidentiality obligations as a former secret service employee.

Trump's predecessor Barack Obama had refused a pardon for Snowden. "I can not pardon anyone who has not been convicted by a court," Obama said in 2016 to "Spiegel" and ARD. However, American presidents have already pardoned people who have not stood trial for the acts they have been accused of. At the end of his term in office, Obama pardoned the convicted whistleblower Chelsea Manning in 2017. Manning had passed on diplomatic correspondence and military documents to the Wikileaks disclosure platform. A video of American troops shooting at civilians and reporters in Iraq became particularly popular.