Friday

6th May 2016

Snowden among nominees for EU prize

  • German activists demanding asylum for Edward Snowden (Photo: Mike Herbst)

US whistleblower Edward Snowden is among the seven nominees for the European Parliament's Sakharov prize for freedom of thought.

Nominated by Greens and leftists in the European Parliament, Snowden is a former contractor for the Central Intelligence Agency who fled to Russia after revealing a mass surveillance scheme run by the US government.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The 29-year old, charged in the US for espionage and theft, has become an irritant in US-Russian relations and a cause celebre for internet freedom activists in Europe, who demanded, in vain, that EU governments grant him asylum.

Snowden's disclosures - which also put British, French and German secret services in a bad light for co-operating with the US online snooping scheme - continue to trickle out in the British Guardian newspaper and Der Spiegel magazine.

Snowden lives under guard at a secret location in Russia but is able to travel incognito, his Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said Monday.

“No one is being told his place of residence. This is done on his request because we understand that the level of danger is quite high,” Kucherena told RT television in an interview.

Apart from Snowden, EU political groups also nominated Malala Yousafzai - a 11-year old from Pakistan who started a blog denouncing Taliban abuses against girls who want to go to school. She survived an assassination attempt in October 2012 and is since celebrated as a symbol for women's struggle for education and self-determination.

Two Ethiopian journalists - Reeyot Alemu and Eskinder Nega - have also been nominated after having been jailed for writing columns criticising their government.

Another nomination, filed by Polish MEPs, groups three Belarusian dissidents - Ales Bialatski, Eduard Lobau and Mykola Statkevich - representing all political prisoners who are in jail after they protested against election fraud by President Alexander Lukashenko.

Forty-one MEPs also nominated Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who has now served 10 years in a Siberian jail after refusing to back President Vladimir Putin and criticising Russia's corrupt political system.

The first man to stand in the Turkish Taksim Square, Erdem Gunduz, prompting mass-scale protests earlier this year was nominated as well, along with CNN's Freedom Project - a global campaign against the slave trade, human trafficking and forced child labour.

A shortlist of three finalists will be decided on 30 September by MEPs dealing with foreign affairs and human rights.

The winner will then be chosen on 10 October in Strasbourg and invited to the award ceremony on 20 November.

The Sakharov prize was named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, who won the Nobel peace prize in 1975. The prize has been awarded yearly since 1988 to people or organisations who fight for human rights and civil liberties.

European experts to probe Polish police law

The Council of Europe is sending a team to Poland to investigate fears that a new law will give police too much power, as the supreme court weighs into a row over legal reform.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Centre Maurits CoppetiersBrexit Could Increase Support for Independence in Pro-EU Scotland
  2. European Music CouncilRegister Now for the 6th European Forum on Music in Wroclaw, European Capital of Culture 2016
  3. Belgrade Security ForumJoin Our Team for the 6th Belgrade Security Forum. Apply Now! Deadline May 20
  4. European Roundtable of IndustrialistsCompanies Make Progress on Number of Women in Leadership Roles
  5. Counter BalanceParliament Gets Tough on Control EU Bank's Funds
  6. ICRCSyria: Aleppo on the Brink of Humanitarian Disaster
  7. CESIWorld Day For Health and Safety at Work: Public Sector Workers in The Focus
  8. EFABasque Peace Process-Arnaldo Otegi Visits the European Parliament
  9. EscardioChina Pays Price of Western Lifestyle With Soaring Childhood Obesity
  10. Centre Maurits CoppetiersThe Existence of a State is a Question of Fact, Not a Question of Law
  11. ICRCSyria: Aid for Over 120,000 People Arrives in Besieged Town Near Homs