‘Exposing Orwellian surveillance’: Greens call on Sweden to grant Edward Snowden asylum

‘Exposing Orwellian surveillance’: Greens call on Sweden to grant Edward Snowden asylum
Sweden’s Greens have called on Stockholm to grant NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden political asylum and fly him to the country on an official government plane. The move comes as Snowden prepares to receive a Swedish “alternative Nobel” human rights award.

Snowden has "exposed an Orwellian surveillance program," Valter Mutt, the foreign affairs spokesman for the country’s Green Party, told Swedish network SVT, The Local reported.

The former NSA whistleblower is currently living in Moscow. In August 2014, he received a three-year residence permit in Russia after his previous, year-long temporary asylum permit expired.

"It’s a disgrace, not only for Sweden but for the whole of the European Union, that Vladimir Putin, a democratically questionable leader is the only one that grants a hero like Snowden asylum," said Mutt, adding that he will discuss the plan with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom.

He compared Snowden to Nelson Mandela, the late anti-apartheid revolutionary who became president of South Africa, and Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India.

Mutt said that Swedish authorities could bring Snowden to Stockholm on an official government plane.

Pierre Schori, a former Swedish ambassador to the UN, supported Mutt's proposal, pointing out that Stockholm previously granted political asylum to US citizens who refused to fight in the Vietnam War.

"We offered them temporary asylum on a humanitarian basis. We could do the same with Snowden," Schori said.

READ MORE: ‘Alternative Nobel’ human rights award goes to Snowden

On Monday, Snowden was due to receive the Right Livelihood Award, a Swedish-based alternative to the Nobel Prize that aims to honor and support those “offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today," according to a statement on the award’s website.

Snowden is expected to address the Stockholm awards ceremony by video link.

The Right Livelihood Award announced in September that Snowden would be one of its winners for 2014.

"The 2014 Right Livelihood Honorary Award goes to Edward Snowden for his courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights," a statement for the awards group said.

Although Snowden will not receive the award’s customary 500,000 kronor ($70,000) prize money, the organization said it would "fund legal support for him."

Sweden’s Foreign Ministry has banned the civil rights group from making its traditional announcement at Stockholm's Foreign Ministry, although the prestigious awards have been handed out there for the last 18 years. The ceremony will be held December 1 in the Swedish Parliament, starting at 1600 CET (1400 GMT) and streamed live.