MOSCOW, October 10 (RIA Novosti) – A Pakistani teen activist beat US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden and a trio of Belarusian dissidents to a prestigious human rights award from the European Parliament on Thursday.
Malala Yousafzai, 16, was awarded the 25th annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought for her campaign to promote education for women in Pakistan, the European Parliament’s press service said.
Last year, Yousafzai’s campaigning earned her a bullet in the face from the radical Islamist Taliban movement, which opposes female education, but she survived the assassination attempt.
Snowden, 30, an ex-employee of the US National Security Agency (NSA), earned the nomination for leaking information about a US government surveillance program. Snowden fled the United States this summer and ended up in Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum.
The finalists also included Ales Bialatski, Eduard Lobau and Mykola Statkevich, opposition activists jailed over their role in 2010 protests triggered by presidential elections in Belarus won by incumbent strongman Alexander Lukashenko amid fraud allegations.
The long list for the prize also included Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Russian tycoon jailed since 2005 on economic crime charges that he called retribution for his criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The awards ceremony will take place in Strasbourg on Nov. 20. The prize comes complete with a check for 50,000 euros ($67,500).
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is named after Andrei Sakharov, a prominent Soviet scientist-turned-dissident who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975.
Yousafzai is also in the running for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, the winner of which is due to be announced Friday.