Swooning MEPs go all Directioner over Edward Snowden

The People's Whistleblower up for Euro Parl's human rights prize, again

Whistleblower-in-chief Edward Snowden has been nominated for the European Parliament’s human rights prize, for a second time.

The nominations for the 2015 Sakharov Prize were decided last week, with Snowden getting the nod again after losing to Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Pakistani girl who defied the Taliban, in 2013.

The prize is awarded every year to honour exceptional individuals who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression.

Nominations can be made by political groups or by at least 40 MEPs and the Parliament is notably fond of Snowden – a report approved last week called for him to be given asylum.

Once the nominations are in, three committees – Foreign Affairs (AFET), Human Rights (DROI, which is technically a subcommittee) and Development (DEVE) – vote to select three finalists. After that, the Conference of Presidents, made up of the parliament president and the leaders of the political groups, select the winner.

Two other whistleblowers are on the list: Antoine Deltour, a former PricewaterhouseCoopers auditor who unleashed the so-called LuxLeaks scandal, and Stéphanie Gibaud, who uncovered tax evasion and money laundering by UBS.

Raif Badawi, a Saudi Arabian blogger and author of the website Free Saudi Liberals, is also nominated. Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a hefty fine for insulting Islamic values on his website. Badawi looks most likely to win.

The other nominees include: assassinated Russian physicist Boris Nemtsov, political prisoners in Venezuela, a Somali activist for the abolition of female genital mutilation, and Nadiya Savchenko, a Ukrainian military pilot and member of Ukraine’s delegation to the the Council of Europe. She was captured on June 2014 and illegally transferred to Russia.

The nominations will be formally presented on 28 September and the winner will be announced next month. ®

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