Snow­den awarded free­dom of ex­pres­sion prize

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

For­mer se­cu­rity con­trac­tor Ed­ward Snow­den won a Nor­we­gian prize for free­dom of ex­pres­sion Tues­day and re­ceived yet an­other in­vi­ta­tion to leave his ex­ile and re­ceive the award in per­son.

The Nor­we­gian Academy of Lit­er­a­ture and Free­dom of Ex­pres­sion said the 31-year old fugi­tive had won the Bjorn­son Prize — named af­ter a Nor­we­gian No­bel lit­er­a­ture lau­re­ate — “for his work pro­tect­ing pri­vacy and for shin­ing a crit­i­cal light on U.S. sur­veil­lance of its cit­i­zens and oth­ers.”

Snow­den, a for­mer an­a­lyst at the U.S. Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency, has lived in ex­ile in Rus­sia since 2013 af­ter re­veal­ing mass spy­ing pro­grams by the United States and its al­lies.

The U. S. ad­min­is­tra­tion has branded him a hacker and a traitor who en­dan­gered lives by re­veal­ing the ex­tent of the NSA spy­ing pro­gram.

The academy re­quested as­sur­ances from the Nor­we­gian gov­ern­ment that Snow­den would not be ex­tra­dited to the U.S. if he trav­eled to Nor­way to re­ceive the 100,000 kro­ner ( US$12,700, 11,500 eu­ros) prize money in per­son on Sept. 5.

Nor­way’s jus­tice min­istry said it was up to im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties, who in­di­cated they would con­sider any en­try re­quest when and if they re­ceived one.

A U. S. State Depart­ment spokes­woman, Marie Harf, said she would not spec­u­late on whether Wash­ing­ton would ask for Snow­den’s ex­tra­di­tion.

But she warned: “We would ad­vise any gov­ern­ment that there’s only one place he should travel, and that’s back here to the U.S. to face the charges he faces.”

She said the charges against Snow­den were “very se­ri­ous,” adding that “if he had the courage of his con­vic­tions that he claims, he would come face jus­tice here in the U.S.”

News of the award came on the day that U.S. Se­nate passed land­mark leg­is­la­tion lim­it­ing the pow­ers of the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency, where Snow­den had worked, in a move he hailed as “his­toric.”

Snow­den was awarded Swe­den’s Right Liveli­hood Award in 2014 but chose to ac­cept it by video link rather than leav­ing his ex­ile in Rus­sia.

He has been nom­i­nated for the No­bel Peace Prize for the sec­ond year in a row. The No­bel will be awarded in Oslo on Oct. 9.

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