Snowden shortlisted for Sakharov prize
RIA Novosti

Fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has been included in a short list for the prestigious Sakharov Prize celebrating freedom of thought, the European Parliament announced.

European lawmakers cast their votes for nominees in the short list in a secret ballot on Monday. The list also includes three jailed Belarusian dissidents and Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai, who is widely regarded as the favorite to win the prize.

Snowden, a computer specialist and former employee of the US National Security Agency (NSA), was the focus of international attention over the summer after he leaked classified evidence of US government surveillance programs to the media. He fled to Hong Kong and then to Moscow, where he was granted temporary asylum in Russia in late July despite repeated extradition demands from Washington.

Snowden has been nominated by the Greens and the leftist GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament.

Parliament leaders will announce the winner on October 10, and the awards ceremony will take place in Strasbourg in December.

The 50,000 euros ($65,000) prize, named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, is awarded by the European Parliament every year since 1988 to honor champions of human rights and freedom of expression.

Past recipients include anti-apartheid revolutionary and former South African president Nelson Mandela, Chinese dissident Hu Jia, and Reporters Without Borders, a France-based NGO that advocates freedom of the press.

Malala, Snowden, Belarusians Short-Listed For Sakharov Prize
Radio Free Europe Documents and Publications

Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, U.S. Edward Snowden, and Belarusian political prisoners Ales Byalyatski, Eduard Lobau, and Mikola Statkevich have all been short-listed for the 2013 Sakharov Prize.

The 50,000 euros ($65,000) prize is awarded every year by the European Parliament to honor defenders of human rights and freedom of expression.

Pakistani education activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Malala Yousafzai is widely regarded as the favorite when the prize is announced on 10 October.

She has been backed by the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), the Socialists & Democrats (S&D), and two center-right groups, the European People's Party (EPP) and the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR).

Snowden, who fled the United States after disclosing classified electronic-surveillance activities, is supported by Greens and the leftist GUE/NGL but remains a controversial choice for most members of the European Parliament.

Byalyatski, Lobau, and Statkevich enjoy strong Polish backing in the chamber and are nominated on behalf of all Belarusian political prisoners.

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