WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Republican congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul has started a petition drive to pressure the Obama administration to grant clemency to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who is charged with espionage over leaks about the government's surveillance programs.

Paul's push for clemency would have to be granted by President Barack Obama. Earlier this week, Paul's son, Republican Sen. Rand Paul, a potential presidential candidate in 2016, filed a lawsuit against Obama and other top administration officials to stop the surveillance programs, which Sen. Paul contends are violations of 4th amendment constitutional protections against unreasonable searches.

Ron Paul said in a video post that he wants Snowden to return to the U.S. without facing prosecution before his amnesty in Russia expires at the end of July.