The prize named after Fritz Bauer, a German prosecutor and judge who played an important role in Oswiecim trials of former SS officers, was instituted in 1968 and is given to people who excel in contributions to humanity, liberty and democracy.
“Edward Snowden showed exceptional moral courage in exposing illegal surveillance practices,” said the national chairman Werner Koep-Kerstin.
Edward Snowden, an ex-NSA contractor and CIA serviceman, caused worldwide furor when he leaked classified documents pertaining to US intelligence services and the extent of the NSA dragnet.
The chairman said further that Snowden’s revelations “initiated a long overdue debate on the limits of the security mania, democratic demands on the control of intelligence as well as international rules of surveillance.”
The revelations not only sparked national outcry but also strained USA’s relationships with its allies, who were angry at being snooped.
US reacted to his revelations by revoking his citizenship; he has been staying under Russian asylum in Moscow since July 2013.
He has been hailed as a hero by libertarians, humanitarian activists, but he is considered a traitor by the US authorities who refuse to acknowledge him as a whistleblower.
Snowden has received several awards for his courageous act of exposing the US intelligence services as well the government’s intrusion on its citizens’ right to privacy.
He was given the ‘2013 Whistleblower Award’ by German advocates as well as the ‘Positive’ Big Brother Award. He has also been given Sam Adams Award for ‘Integrity in Intelligence’ in October 2013 by a group of US whistleblowers.
Additionally, Snowden shared the ‘Truth Telling Award’ with Laura Poitras, one of the journalists to whom he handed over the leaked classified documents; the other being Glen Greenwald, an ex-Guardian journalist.
As well, he is the Glasgow University rector elected through student vote. He also had the honor to deliver Britain’s 2013 ‘Alternative Christmas Message,’ a program by Channel 4.
Besides the award by the German Humanitarian agency, a new defense fund called Couragewas also launched at an official ceremony in Berlin last week to help whistle-blowers like Snowden.
The initial funds for this were raised by a small foundation, Journalistic Source Protection Defense Fund (JSPDF), which later reorganized itself into Courage, said Sarah Harrison, a rights activist and WikiLeaks employee who helped Edward Snowden flee Hong Kong.