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1 Dec, 2014 21:18

Snowden receives Swedish ‘alternative Nobel Prize’ via video from Moscow

Snowden receives Swedish ‘alternative Nobel Prize’ via video from Moscow

Edward Snowden has received the Right Livelihood Award, a Swedish-based alternative to the Nobel Prize, for revealing state surveillance which violated basic democratic and constitutional rights. He accepted the award via video from Moscow.

In his acceptance speech broadcast from Moscow, Snowden said he hoped this was only beginning. The audience in the building of the Swedish parliament received the whistleblower with a long applause.

"I hope despite all we have accomplished in the last year, we all recognize that this is only the beginning," Snowden said, prompting a standing ovation.

"These are things that are unlikely to change soon," he said. “But they have been worth it, all the prices we paid, all the sacrifices we made, I believe we'd do it again. I know I would do again.”

"This is about us, this is about our rights. This is about the kind of societies we want to live in, the kind of government we want to have, the kind of world that we want to make for the next generation. And when we talk about government, we need to think not only about the quality of the government, but also the relationship that we have with it. Are we going to be a subject of government, or will we be partner to it?"

"There is so much more to do...and together we will achieve it," Snowden concluded.

Snowden shared the award with Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian, who gave the green light to publish information based on documents leaked by Snowden.

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."

E Snowden gets the Alternative Nobel Prize, and calls for the UN to seriously take on digital integrity!#RLA2014pic.twitter.com/1bkucuY9Rp

— Lena Ag (@LenaAg_ktk) 1 декабря 2014

This year, Sweden’s Foreign Ministry banned the Right Livelihood Award Foundation from making its traditional announcement at the ministry's Stockholm location – even though prestigious awards have been handed out there for the past 18 years. Because of this, the ceremony had to be held at the Swedish parliament.

US whistleblower Snowden was among five winners of the Swedish human rights award, announced in Stockholm in September.

"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," the foundation said in a statement.

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

Snowden – who lives in Russia, where he received a three-year residence permit in August 2014 – was not able to attend the ceremony in person. His acceptance speech was broadcast live from Moscow. Snowden faces conviction and imprisonment in the US.

Earlier, the Swedish Greens called on the Swedish government to grant Snowden political asylum and fly him to the country on an official government plane. However, authorities did not respond to the request.