The US says it wouldn't seek the death penalty for National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden if he were returned to his home country. The news comes from multiple outlets which report that US Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter on July 23rd to the top prosecutor in the Russian government in a likely attempt to convince the country to extradite Snowden. Holder added in the letter, according to reports, that Snowden would receive the full protections provided to him as a US citizen, promising that he'd go through the civilian court system and would not be tortured.

In the letter, obtained by The Wall Street Journal, Eric Holder writes: "First, the United States would not seek the death penalty for Mr. Snowden should he return to the United States. The charges he faces do not carry that possibility, and the United States would not seek the death penalty even if Mr. Snowden were charged with additional, death penalty-eligible crimes."

The move comes as a clear attempt to persuade Russia to deny Snowden's request for temporary asylum in the country. Holder added in his letter that Snowden "is eligible for a limited validity passport good for direct return to the United States," dispelling claims that the leaker would be unable to travel. The US just yesterday added pressure to any country considering granting Snowden asylum after a senate panel approved an amendment to a spending bill authorizing Secretary of State John Kerry to meet with congress and apply sanctions against any nation that shelters Snowden.