The US whistleblower Edward Snowden has made the shortlist for a European human rights award after being nominated by a bloc of European Union politicians.
The former CIA employee was nominated on Monday for the Sakharov Prize by the Green group in the European Parliament for leaking details of secret US surveillance programmes.
His nomination was in recognition of his “enormous service” to human rights and to the European citizens, the Green group said.
Addressing parliament in a written statement he said: "The surveillance of whole populations, rather than individuals, threatens to be the greatest human rights challenge of our time."
The former CIA/NSA employee has been living in Russia since disclosing global surveillance programmes that monitored foreign diplomats and hacked civilian computer networks.
The Sakharov Prize, awarded annually for freedom of thought, is given by the European Parliament each year since 1988 to commemorate Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov. Previous recipients include Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi.
Among the nominees for this year is Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban last year for demanding education for girls.
The winner of the prize will be announced on October 10 with the prize worth approximately $65,000 being awarded in Strasbourg on November 20.