Europe’s top human rights award, the Sakharov Prize for Freedomof Thought, could be awarded to Edward Snowden or Malala Yousafzai –two very different political activists. Snowden has been charged with espionage and theft of government property by United States federal prosecutors. He is known for leaking several top-secret United States and British government mass surveillance programs to the press. Snowden currently lives in an undisclosed location in Russia under temporary asylum.
Snowden’s nomination for the prize appears to be a slap at the United States by European lawmakers upset with the Obama administration’s foreign policies. The nomination also comes after the British Parliament refused to participate in a military strike against Syria.
Malala Yousafzai isn’t a whistle-blower. She is a 14-year-oldPakistani girl who was shot in an assassination attempt by the Taliban while returning home on a school bus. She was shot in the head and neck. It was thought she would die, but her condition improved.
The Taliban has since threatened to kill Yousafzai and her father. The Taliban does not want women educated. They have banned girls from going to school. Yousafzai is the face of the girls and women who live under Taliban rule.
Yousafzai was nominated for the Sarkhov prize for her contributions to education and women’s rights activism. She was also nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by South African activist Desmond Tutu.