American Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency leaker who is currently in asylum in Russia, has been selected as one of seven nominees for the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought for his “enormous service” in disclosing the United States’ surveillance program.
“Edward Snowden has risked his freedom to help us protect ours and he deserves to be honored for shedding light on the systematic infringements of civil liberties by U.S. and European secret services,” a leader with the Greens–European Free Alliance, the group that nominated Snowden, said in a statement.
Other nominees include Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban for going to school; Turkish protesters who staged a sit-in in opposition to development in an Istanbul park; and Reeyot Alemu and Eskinder Nega, two Ethiopian journalists who were jailed for publishing works critical of the government.
European Parliament committees will meet again at the end of the month to vote on three finalists before the Conference of Presidents, parliament’s governing body, selects the winner on October 10. The award is named after Andrei Sakharov, a Soviet dissident and 1975 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Past winners include Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo.