Date
12 December 2017
Edward Snowden addresses the Swedish parliament via a telelink from Moscow. Photo: AFP
Edward Snowden addresses the Swedish parliament via a telelink from Moscow. Photo: AFP

Snowden wins human rights award

US whistleblower Edward Snowden received standing ovations in the Swedish parliament after he was given the Right Livelihood award for revealing the scale of surveillance by governments.

Snowden, who is in exile in Russia, addressed the parliament by video from Moscow, the Guardian reported.

In a symbolic gesture, his family and supporters said no one picked up the award on his behalf in the hope that one day he might be free to travel to Sweden to receive it in person.

His father, Lon Snowden, who was in the chamber for what was an emotional ceremony, said: “I am thankful for the support of the Right Livelihood award and the Swedish parliament. The award will remain here in expectation that some time – sooner or later – he will come to Stockholm to accept the award.”

Snowden is wanted by the United States on charges under the Espionage Act for revealing extensive data about spying by the US National Security Agency and other state organs.

His chances of a deal with the US justice department that would allow him to return home are slim and he may end up spending the rest of his days in Russia.

His supporters hope that a west European country such as Sweden might grant him asylum.

The awards jury, in its citation, said Snowden was being honoured “for his courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights”.

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