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US Fugitive Snowden Shortlisted for EU Human Rights Prize

  • VOA News

Edward Snowden, June 9, 2013.

Edward Snowden, June 9, 2013.

Fugitive U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden is among three candidates for the European Union's top human rights prize.

Snowden was nominated for the Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament's pro-environment Greens' caucus, which said Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, risked his freedom by disclosing secret U.S. government surveillance programs.

Other nominees for the award include Pakistani schoolgirl and education activist Malala Yousafzai, who survived a Taliban assassination attempt, and a group of three Belarusian political prisoners jailed for protesting the disputed re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko.

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought has been awarded yearly by the European Parliament since 1988.

Past recipients include former South African president and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela and Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The award is named after Russian physicist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, who is known as the father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb. Sakharov later worked to raise awareness of the nuclear arms race and founded a committee to defend human rights and victims of political trials in the Soviet Union.