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Nominations for Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

Nominated on 16 September 2013 and 10 September 2015

Edward Snowden has the distinction of being nominated for the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov Prize in two separate years.

On 16 September 2013 it was announced that Edward Snowden was one of seven nominees for the 2013 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The Sakharov Prize is awarded annually by the European Parliament to honour individuals and organisations for their efforts on behalf of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Snowden was nominated by the Greens/EFA group and the GUE/NGL group.

Under the auspices of the European Parliament, the EU Foreign Affairs and Development Committees and the Human Rights Subcommittee another vote was taken on 30 September, to create a shortlist of three of the nominees. Edward Snowden was one of the three shortlisted nominees, along with Malala Yousafzai and Belarusian activists.

Although the prize was eventually given to Malala on 10 October 2013, Snowden received huge support to win the prize, including a letter written on 9 October by 23 European organisations. The open letter stated that these organisations supported the nomination of Snowden due to his revelations having “triggered a necessary and long-overdue public debate in the United States and beyond about the accepted boundaries of surveillance in a democratic state”.

Edward Snowden was nominated for the 2015 Sakharov Prize, alongside fellow whistleblowers Antoine Deltour and Stéphanie Gibould and others on 10 September 2015. Saudi dissident Raif Badawi was announced as the winner of the prize on 29 October.