BRUSSELS, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- U.S. secrets-leaker Edward Snowden is a finalist for this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought awarded by the European Parliament, organizers said.
Also on the short list are Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teen activist for girls' education who survived a Taliban assassination attempt, and Belarusian political prisoners Ales Bialatski, Eduard Lobau and Mykola Statkevich, EUobserver.com reported Monday.
The winner will be announced Oct. 10 and the 50,000 euro (about $67,800) prize will be awarded Nov. 20.
Snowden, who was granted temporary asylum in Russia, said he leaked data about the National Security Agency's massive monitoring of the Internet and cellphones to the British publication The Guardian and The Washington Post during the summer to expose the scale of the surveillance and to spark debate about change.
During a European Parliament's civil liberties committee hearing in Brussels on whistle-blowers Monday, a statement by Snowden read into the record said public debate on mass surveillance should rely on "individual sacrifice," the EUobserver.com said.
His statement was delivered by former whistle-blower Jesseyln Radack, who read on Snowden's behalf, "If we are to enjoy such debates in the future, we cannot rely on individual sacrifice, we must create better channels for people of conscience to better inform not only trusted agents of government but independent representatives of the public outside of government."
Radack rose to prominence as a whistle-blower after disclosing that the FBI committed what she believed to be an ethics violation in its interrogation of John Walker Lindh, the "American Taliban" captured during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, without an attorney present, and alleged the Department of Justice attempted to suppress that information.