Thirty-one American writers signed an open letter addressed to U.S. President Barack Obama calling for the issue of a presidential pardon for National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden. The 33-year-old is wanted in the U.S. under the Espionage Act for leaking classified information.

The group, which includes Neil Gaiman, Joshua Cohen, Joyce Carol Oates and Nicholson Baker, published the open letter in the New York Times Tuesday where it appeared as an advertisement.

“Having sworn an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution, Snowden proceeded to do just that, by releasing the information he’d uncovered to reputable institutions of our free press, in accordance with Jefferson’s principle that ‘wherever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government’,” the letter reads.

“We the people are now well informed, and yet the man who has risked his freedom in the interests of our better self-governance languishes in Russian exile, faced with the prospect of returning home to a trial deprived of a public interest defense, and so, in all likelihood, a cell. This, in our opinion, is exactly the type of circumstance for which the presidency has been invested with the pardon privilege,” the authors wrote.

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