The European Parliament (EP) has named former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden a 2013 finalist for its prestigious international human rights award, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
Given to individuals who have distinguished themselves for outstanding contributions in the fight for human rights, the Sakharov Prize has a tradition of laureates who have been incarcerated or even tortured, starting with its first recipients in 1988, Nelson Mandela and Anatoly Marchenko.
The winner will be selected on October 10, 2013 by the leaders of the EP political groups and by EP president Martin Schulz from a short list of three chosen by the foreign affairs and development committees on September 30, 2013. The award ceremony will take place in Strasbourg on November 20, 2013.
"Being named a finalist for the Sakharov Prize befits Mr. Snowden," observed Beatrice Edwards, Executive and International Director of the Government Accountability Project (GAP). "At tremendous personal cost, Snowden and Sakharov stood up to human-rights abuses by their own country against its own people and we salute them both."
GAP champions government and corporate accountability and transparency by advancing occupational free speech, defending whistleblowers, and empowering citizen activists. Since its founding in 1977, GAP has fought to make large bureaucratic institutions accountable through the effective exercise of conscience.
Douglas Kim is External Relations Officer for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.