The top U.N. human rights official suggested on Wednesday the United States should abandon its efforts to prosecute Edward Snowden, saying his revelations of massive state surveillance had been in the public interest.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay credited Snowden, a former U.S. National Security Agency contractor, with opening a global debate which has led to calls for the curtailing of state powers to snoop on citizens online and store their data.
"Those who disclose human rights violations should be protected, we need them," Pillay told a news conference.
"I see some of it here in the case of Snowden, because his revelations go to the core of what we are saying about the need for transparency, the need for consultation," she said. "We owe a great deal to him for revealing this kind of information."