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15 Jul, 2013 12:10

‘Heroic effort at great personal cost’: Edward Snowden nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

‘Heroic effort at great personal cost’: Edward Snowden nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

A Swedish sociology professor has nominated Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize. He says the NSA whistleblower could help “save the prize from the disrepute incurred by the hasty and ill-conceived decision” to give the 2009 award to Barack Obama.

In his letter addressed to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Stefan Svallfors praised Snowden for his “heroic effort at great personal cost.” He stated that by revealing the existence and the scale of the US surveillance programs, Snowden showed “individuals can stand up for fundamental rights and freedoms.” 

Mejlar till Norska Nobelkommittén. pic.twitter.com/RCYqxHvOyO

— Stefan Svallfors (@StefanSvallfors) July 13, 2013

“This example is important because since the Nuremberg trials in 1945 has been clear that the slogan ‘I was just following orders’ is never claimed as an excuse for acts contrary to human rights and freedoms,” Professor Svallfors wrote.

He emphasized that the decision to award the 2013 prize to Edward Snowden would also “help to save the Nobel Peace Prize from the disrepute incurred by the hasty and ill-conceived decision to award US President Barack Obama 2009 award.”

But Kristian Berg Harpviken, senior researcher and deputy director at the International Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), told Interfax news agency that it is very unlikely that Snowden will become a Nobel Prize laureate.

Harpviken said that all major deadlines have passed, meaning that Snowden will have very little chance of making the shortlist.

When asked whether Snowden deserves the award, Harpviken replied with a “careful yes.”

Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Thorbjoern Jagland (L) applauses as laureate, US President Barack Obama hands the diploma and medal to Nobel Peace Prize, during the Nobel Peace prize award ceremony at the City Hall in Oslo on December 10, 2009 (AFP Photo)

The head of the International Committee of the Russian State Duma Aleksey Pushkov has also argued that the US won’t let Nobel Peace Prize go to Snowden.

"Not in a million years will the United States allow Snowden to get the Peace Prize. But his nomination is significant. Many in the West see him as a champion of democracy," he tweeted on Monday.

As a sociology professor at Umeå University, which has recently top-ranked among the world’s best young universities, Svallfors is included in the limited circuit of people who can deliver nominations to the Nobel committee. These include members of international courts and national assemblies; university rectors; professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes.

Nominations for laureates should be postmarked for consideration in the following December's prizes no later than February 1 for the advisers to review the short list of the suggested candidates.

Since 1901, when the Nobel Peace Prize was launched, it has been awarded to a hundred individuals who “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” 

The Nobel Peace prize however, is corrupt. Overseen by Norwegian and Swedish establishments, it has become an instrument of foreign policy.

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) July 15, 2013

Last year Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of passing secret materials to WikiLeaks, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The nomination was proposed by the Movement of Icelandic Parliament, which asserted that revelations produced by the documents Manning allegedly exposed “have helped to fuel a worldwide discussion about America’s overseas engagements, civilian war casualties, imperialistic manipulations, and rules of engagement.”

In 2011 founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks Julian Assange was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by Norwegian MP Snorre Valen.

Snowden’s nomination is expected to be reviewed by the committee for next year's prize. Should Snowden get the coveted award, he would be the youngest Nobel Peace Laureate in the history of the prize.  

The 30-year-old nominee is wanted in the US on charges of espionage after revealing secret NSA surveillance programs and could face the death penalty in his home country. He fled American soil for Hong Kong in May and then flew to Moscow, where he has been stuck in an airport transit zone for three weeks.

On Friday Snowden said he is seeking political asylum in Russia because he cannot fly to Latin America.

A journalist looks at a display with a picture of former CIA employee Edward Snowden (RIA Novosti)

During his meeting with rights activists and lawyers at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, Snowden explained what was behind his decision to leak the secret NSA spying programs. He said he did what he believed to be right and “began a campaign to correct this wrongdoing.” Snowden underlined that he did not seek to enrich himself, or to sell American secrets.  

“I took what I knew to the public, so what affects all of us can be discussed by all of us in the light of day, and I asked the world for justice,” Snowden said, adding that he does not regret his decision.

Russian migration officials said that they have not yet received an asylum plea from the NSA leaker.

America has launched a persecution campaign in response, “threatening with sanctions” countries who stand up for Snowden’s rights.

So far, three countries in Latin America – Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua – said they could offer Asylum to the American whistleblower.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had earlier stated that Moscow would grant him asylum if Snowden stopped activities aimed at harming “our American partners.”