A group in the European Union parliament has nominated NSA leaker and new Russia resident Edward Snowden for an award intended to honor a Soviet dissident.
Greens/EFA co-presidents Rebecca Harms and Dany Cohn-Bendit nominated Snowden for this year’s Sakharov Prize, the EU’s annual human-rights award honoring “exceptional individuals who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression.”
“With this nomination, our group’s intention is to acknowledge the enormous service Edward Snowden has done for human rights globally and for European citizens,” the Greens said in a statement.
“Edward Snowden has risked his freedom to help us protect ours and he deserves to be honoured for shedding light on the systematic infringements of civil liberties by US and European secret services,” they continued. “Instead of being given asylum in the EU, he has been abandoned by cowardly European governments. We hope our nomination will receive wide support in the European Parliament and that this can serve as a symbol of rejection of this gross, massive and illegal intrusion into the privacy of citizens worldwide.”
The Parliament’s foreign affairs, development and human rights committees narrow the nominees down to a list of three, with the final decision rendered by the Parliament’s conference of presidents in October.
Snowden also received a nomination from the Swedish Pirate Party.
Past winners include the Arab Spring demonstrators and Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The grand prize is 50,000 euros.