Edward Snowden planning return to USA?
Edward Snowden planning return to US?Getty

Whistleblower Edward Snowden wants to end his self-imposed exile and return home to the United States, his lawyer has said.

Anatoly Kucherena said discussions are taking place with lawyers in the US about a possible return from Russia, where Snowden has been based since 2013.

The 31-year-old American has not been back to the US since he exposed the massive extent of spying by the government upon citizens at the National Security Agency (NSA).

A former NSA contractor, Snowden is seen as a hero by some for his revelations and as a traitor by others, for the same reason.

Speaking at a book launch reported by Reuters, Kucherena said: "I won't keep it secret that he... wants to return back home. And we are doing everything possible now to solve this issue. There is a group of US lawyers, there is also a group of German lawyers and I'm dealing with it on the Russian side."

Snowden has said he would be open to returning to the US if he was assured a fair trial for charges of leaking secret documents.

But he said that facing charges under the Espionage Act would mean he "can't argue to the jury that what you did was in the public interest", adding: "The 'music' is not an open court and a fair trial."

Russia has snubbed demands by Washington for Snowden to be extradited.