Posted by Zia Shah
Edward Snowden, the fugitive American former intelligence worker, has made the shortlist of three for the Sakharov prize, Europe’s top human rights award.
Mr Snowden was nominated by Green politicians in the European Parliament for leaking details of US surveillance.
Nominees also include Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot in the head for demanding education for girls.
Former recipients of the prize, awarded by the European Parliament, include Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi.
Mr Snowden’s nomination recognised that his disclosure of US surveillance activities was an “enormous service” to human rights and European citizens, the parliament’s Green group said.
Snowden, who has sought asylum in Russia, said in a statement read out in parliament that he was grateful to Europe’s politicians for “taking up the challenge of mass surveillance”.
“The surveillance of whole populations, rather than individuals, threatens to be the greatest human rights challenge of our time,” he said.
The Sakharov prize for freedom of thought is awarded annually in memory if Andrei Sakharov, a Soviet scientist and dissident.
The winner of this year’s prize will be announced on 10 October.