Edward Snowden nominated for European human rights prize
Greens say fugitive’s disclosures did ‘enormous service’ for European citizens
Edward Snowden is living under guard at a secret location in Russia, but is able to travel around the country freely without being recognised
Fugitive US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden is in the running for a European human rights prize whose past winners include Nelson Mandela and Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Mr Snowden, who is in hiding in Russia, is one of seven nominations made by members of the European Parliament for the Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, a move likely to upset Washington which wants to try him on espionage charges.
Mr Snowden was nominated by the Greens in the European Parliament who said he had done an “enormous service” for human rights and European citizens by disclosing secret US internet and telephone surveillance programmes.
“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,” Rebecca Harms and Dany Cohn-Bendit, the leaders of the left-leaning Greens, said.
Yesterday it emerged that Mr Snowden, while living under guard at a secret location in Russia, was able to travel around the country freely without being recognised. His Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said: “We believe the danger remains quite high and, as I see it, it is impossible at the moment to reveal where he’s living or to talk openly about it. ”
Mr Snowden has security protection, but Mr Kucherena was evasive on whether this was provided by the Russian state.
The other nominees for the Sakharov Prize include Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban last year for demanding education for girls, and Russian former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin who has been convicted of money-laundering, tax evasion and fraud.
The European Parliament’s committees vote on a shortlist of three finalists on September 30th. The winner will be chosen by parliamentary leaders on October 10th.
– (Reuters/Guardian service)