• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Snowden thanks Sweden and has no regrets

The Local · 2 Dec 2014, 07:30

Published: 01 Dec 2014 07:00 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Dec 2014 07:30 GMT+01:00

Snowden was unable to attend the ceremony in person so instead gave a speech via a video link from his base in Russia. The Swedish Right Livelihood award has been dubbed an alternative Nobel Prize and Snowden was honoured together with Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger. 

He paid tribute to his supporters as well as journalists and campaigners saying that the scale of his revelations had come at a considerable cost for many. Snowden is in exile in Russia and has had his US passport revoked.

"These are things that are unlikely to change soon. But they're worth it…All the prices we paid, all the sacrifices we made, I believe we'd do it again," Snowden said via video-link after receiving a standing ovation.

His father Lon attended the ceremony in Stockholm and told the Guardian that he hopes his son can pick up the award in person soon. 

DON'T MISS: Should Snowden get asylum in Sweden?

"“I am thankful for the support of the Right Livelihood award and the Swedish parliament. The award will remain here in expectation that some time – sooner or later – he will come to Stockholm to accept the award," he said. 

Jakob von Uexküll, who announced the award said, "Edward Snowden has provided a huge service to the citizens of this planet." 

"Mr. Snowden, your Right Livelihood Award is waiting for you! We trust that Sweden will make it possible for you to collect your award here in Stockholm in person!" he added.

Snowden has been holed up in Russia since June 2013, after he leaked top secret NSA documents to journalists. He faces up to three decades in prison.

"Edward Snowden’s actions have led to an intense global debate on appropriate limits of government surveillance and a reaffirmation of the right to privacy in the digital age. In many countries, laws are now being proposed to restrain mass surveillance, and companies look into implementing new technologies and routines to better protect their customers’ data," saud Uexküll on behalf of the Right Livelihood Award's committee.

The Right Livelihood Award honours those who work to improve the lives of others and is traditionally handed out at Stockholm's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

When Snowden was announced as this year's winner the Swedish foreign ministry said it was banning the civil rights group from making the announcement at their department in the capital.

The award ceremony was moved to the Swedish Parliament and began just hours after a senior Green Party politician suggested that Snowden should be given asylum in Sweden.

Valter Mutt, who is foreign affairs spokesperson for the Greens (who are in coalition with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven's Social Democrats) told Swedish network SVT that Snowden had "exposed an Orwellian surveillance program."

"It’s a disgrace, not only for Sweden but for the whole of the European Union, that Vladimir Putin, a democratically questionable leader is the only one that grants a hero like Snowden asylum," added Mutt.

Story continues below…

The Green Party (Miljöpartiet) politician said that Sweden could transfer Snowden to Scandinavia by using the official government plane and compared him to Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.

Gustav Fridolin, party leader of the Greens, said that Swedish law prohibits the Government from deciding on asylum cases saying that the process is settled in court. He declined to comment on whether Snowden should be accorded the privilege.

Swedish diplomat Pierre Schori has backed Mutt's proposal saying that there is a historical precedent as Sweden accepted American deserters who fought in the Vietnam war.

"We offered them temporary asylum on humanitarian basis. We could do the same with Snowden," Schori told SVT.

The US has charged Snowden with crimes against national security. Secretary of State John Kerry says the former contractor "damaged his country very significantly."

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Nepal's Sherpas rebuild Swedish mountain paths
Kebnekaise, Sweden's highest mountain. Photo: Stockholms Universitet

Nepalese sherpas have been called in to improve hillwalking safety on Sweden's highest mountain Kebnekaise.

23 people tricked into renting the same Malmö apartment
Sweden's housing market is notoriously tricky. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

"I have never felt so stupid and so conned."

Sweden on standby to help earthquake-hit Italy
Rescue workers search through the debris. Photo: AP Photo/Sandro Perozzi

Swedish authorities are ready, if asked, to quickly assist Italy as it recovers from a deadly earthquake.

We harmed Sweden's teachers and should apologize: prof
A tired pupil at a school in Stockholm. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

"The situation is very worrying," says Professor Jonas Linderoth.

US keeper kicked off team for calling Swedes cowards
Hope Solo made her comments after Sweden knocked the US team out of the Olympics. Photo: Eugenio Savio/AP

The US team will be Hope-less for six months.

Five must-see cultural events in Sweden this weekend
Like The Bridge? You'll love one of the events we've picked out for this weekend. Photo: Erland Vinberg/TT

The summer is almost over but Sweden saved the best for last with these cultural events this weekend – including one that will make The Bridge fans happy.

Was there a secret plot to kill Swedish ex-UN chief?
Dag Hammarskjöld, the UN's Secretary General, pictured months before his death in 1961. Photo: TT

Ban Ki-moon wants to find out.

Joe Biden to arrive in Sweden for refugee talks
Stefan Löfven meets Joe Biden during a visit to Washington in March 2015. Photo: Monica Enqvist/Government Offices of Sweden

US Vice President Joe Biden will arrive in Stockholm on Wednesday evening ahead of talks with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven that are expected to focus on migration and refugees.

Boy who attacked goalkeeper 'bet thousands' on game
Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

A 17-year-old boy who stormed the pitch and attacked a goalkeeper in Sweden’s top division earlier this month has claimed he had placed a large bet on the result.

Furious fireman lashes out at Malmö car arsonists
Firefighters battle a blaze in Malmö earlier this month. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

A fireman in Malmö has won praise across Sweden for calling out arsonists on the “bullshit” reasons behind a spate of car fires in the southern city.

Sponsored Article
Malmö to host global skateboard championship
Gallery
People-watching: August 24th
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
The Local Voices
'I want to be a businesswoman but I don’t care about money'
National
Experts: Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Blog updates

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
The mystique of Asia - in the middle of Stockholm
Gallery
Property of the week: Karlsborg
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
National
Why Sweden could change its criticised detention laws
National
Watch this dog's reaction when she tries Swedish fermented herring
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th-21st
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
How to find student housing in Sweden
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
VIDEO: Swede films first Northern Lights of the season
Gallery
People-watching: August 17th
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Society
Swedish population nears ten million
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
The Local Voices
This Syrian artist found love in a Swedish library
National
Sex pigs halt traffic after laser attack on Pokémon teens. Only in Sweden.
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
Gallery
Property of the week: Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Drunk knight detained in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Can you solve this Swede's strange Star Wars mystery?
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th-14th
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
National
Swedes cheer first snow of the season
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Gallery
People-watching: August 10th
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
The Local Voices
Syrian presenter: Swedish media should make more shows in Arabic
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Travel
Watch the meteor shower in Sweden
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Lifestyle
How to survive a crayfish party
Gallery
IN PICS: Your Sweden summer snaps
The Local Voices
Gabriel mastered Swedish and got accepted onto a medicine degree in just 7 months
3,361
jobs available