Edward Snowden was nominated by a Swedish sociology professor for the Nobel Peace Prize. In a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Prof. Stefan Svallfors of Umeå University wrote that the National Security Agency whistleblower is an example of how “individuals can stand up for fundamental rights and freedoms.”
“This example is important because since the Nuremberg trials in 1945 has been clear that the slogan ‘I was just following orders’ is never claimed as an excuse for acts contrary to human rights and freedoms,” Svallfors wrote. “Edward Snowden has — in a heroic effort at great personal cost — revealed the existence and extent of the surveillance, the U.S. government devotes electronic communications worldwide. By putting light on this monitoring program — conducted in contravention of national laws and international agreements — Edward Snowden has helped to make the world a little bit better and safer.”
Svallfors felt the committee was wrong for awarding the 2009 award to President Barack Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."
He said the decision to award the 2013 Nobel Prize to Snowden would “ help to save the Nobel Peace Prize from the disrepute that incurred by the hasty and ill-conceived decision to award U.S. President Barack Obama [the] 2009 award. It would show its willingness to stand up in defense of civil liberties and human rights, even when such a defense be viewed with disfavor by the world’s dominant military power.”
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The professor is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and his research focuses on welfare policies and redistribution in Western countries, according to his profile on the Institute for Futures Studies.