• Sweden's news in English

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Swedish researchers plan new trucks for women drivers
File photo of trucks in Sweden. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Could vehicles adapted for women attract more female truckers to the profession?

These stats show Swedish driving isn't so gender equal
File photo of a Swedish woman driving a car. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A new survey shows that few Swedish women get behind the wheel when driving with their male partner.

Revealed: Game of Thrones could be coming to Sweden
Game of Thrones cast members at the Emmy Awards in September. Photo: Jordan Strauss/AP

The producers of the hit show have asked for three rounds of location pictures of Swedish island Gotland.

Prime Minister to meet Swedish troops in Iraq
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his Kurdish counterpart Nechervan Barzani. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Löfven is set to meet Swedish troops in Iraq on Tuesday.

Swedish politicians wage war on winter time
Soon it will look like this on your way home from work in Sweden. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Should Sweden stick with summer time all year round?

'Don't turn the Pope into a global teddy bear'
Sweden's Queen Silvia and Princess Leonore visiting Pope Francis in the Vatican last year. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

It's time to hold the Pope to account and make sure he turns his words about reform into action, argues a minister of the Swedish Church ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Sweden.

Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available