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Snowden: 'alternative Nobel Prize'

September 24, 2014

Moscow-exiled US whistleblower Edward Snowden and British Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger are to receive the Right Livelihood Award. They're among five persons awarded Sweden's "alternative Nobel prize."

Edward Snowden
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

The Stockholm-based Right Livelihood Award Foundation on Wednesday praised Snowden, a former US intelligence agent, for "revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance."

It said Rusbridger, the editor in chief of Britain's The Guardian newspaper, also won the award for "responsible journalism in the public interest.

Alternativer Nobelpreis 2014 Herausgeber Guardian Alan Rusbridger
Rusbridger was forced to destroy dataImage: picture-alliance/dpa/Andy Rain

"None of them could have done what they did without the other, " said foundation director Ole von Uexkull.

The announcement, originally set for Thursday, was brought forward, after a leak by Swedish broadcaster SVT.

Foundation denied access

Von Uexkull, the nephew of Jacob von Uexkull who founded the prize in 1980, said all winners had been invited to a December 1 award ceremony in Stockholm.

Discussions on "potential" travel arrangements for Snowden, who remains exiled in Russia, would be held with the Swedish government, von Uexkull said.

He added that the foundation had been denied access to the Swedish foreign ministry's media room, where award ceremonies have been held since 1995.

Three other winners

Snowden, who is wanted by the US for exposing mass data collection by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and Rusbridger are honorary winners, meaning they will not receive the award's customary 500,000 kronor (54,500 euros).

The other three prize winners, named to receive the monetary award, are Pakistani human rights lawyer Asma Jahanger, Sri Lankan rights activist Basil Fernando and US environmentalist Bill McKibbben.

Jahanger is a human rights lawyer who has defended women, children, religious minorities and the poor in Pakistan, the award citation said.

Fernando, originally from Sri Lanka, led the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission for nearly two decades and now serves as its director of policy and programs.

McKibben is founder of 350.org, a grass-roots environmental movement aimed at spurring action to fight climate change.

lpj/kms (dpa, AFP, AP)