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US whistleblower Edward Snowden nominated for Sakharov Prize

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Former NSA (National Security Agency) contractor Edward Snowden, who exposed the US’s worldwide espionage activities, has been nominated for the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov Prize.

Members of the European Parliament announced Wednesday that they would officially nominate the whistleblower for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

The European MPs said Snowden risked his freedom to help protect that of other people and deserves to be honored for exposing “systematic infringements of civil liberties by US secret services”.

“Edward Snowden risked his life to confirm what we had long suspected regarding mass online surveillance, a major scandal of our times…He revealed details of violations of EU data protection law and fundamental rights,” said the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) political group, who submitted Snowden’s candidacy.

Snowden leaked information showing that the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conduct massive surveillance operations which monitor the phone records and Internet data of American and foreign nationals and even officials in ally nations.

The international community has condemned Washington over its snooping activities, with Russia granting a one-year political asylum to Snowden who currently faces charges of espionage and theft of government property.

The Sakharov Prize has been designated for human rights advocacy, which the parliament awards annually to honor individuals who “combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression.”

The winner of the Sakharov Prize will be announced in October, with the recipient receiving a monetary award of €50,000.

On August 30, Snowden received the biennial Whistle Blower Award 2013 in Germany, in recognition of his “bold efforts” to expose the monitoring of communications data by his former employer.

Snowden has also been nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.


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