By Saleha Mohsin
Edward Snowden was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Norwegian politicians for contributing to transparency and global stability by exposing a U.S. surveillance program.
"The public debate and changes in policy that have followed in the wake of Snowden's whistleblowing have contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order," Norwegian parliamentarians Snorre Valen and Baard Vegar Solhjell said in the nomination letter obtained by Bloomberg.
Snowden, 30, fled to Hong Kong and then to Russia after leaking classified documents on the U.S. National Security Agency spying programs. He faces charges of theft and espionage and is in Russia on temporary asylum. Attorney General Eric Holder said last week that if Snowden wanted to return to the U.S. and plead guilty, prosecutors would be willing to negotiate.
"There's no doubt that the actions of Edward Snowden may have damaged the security interests of several nations in the short term," said Valen and Solhjell, who was environment minister in the former Labor-led government. Snowden's "actions have in effect led to the reintroduction of trust and transparency as a leading principle in global security policies."
Valen and Solhjell, who represent the Socialist Left Party in the Norwegian parliament, also said that they "don't necessarily condone or support all of his disclosures."
The Nobel Committee accepts nominations from members of national assemblies, governments, international courts, professors and previous laureates. It received a record 259 nominations for last year's prize. While the nominees are kept secret for 50 years, names are sometimes disclosed by the nominators. The prize winner will be announced in October.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons won the prize last year, and past winners include President Obama.