(REUTERS) – Edward Snowden was awarded a prize from the Norwegian Academy of Literature and Freedom of Expression.
The group praised the former American contractor’s decision to leak documents about a U.S. mass surveillance program.
While he didn’t attend the ceremony in person, he appeared via videolink to accept the honor.
WHISTLEBLOWER, EDWARD SNOWDEN,
“I love my country. I signed up for the army, the military in my country, before the Iraq war, because I believed the statements of my government. They said this was to free oppressed people, this was to help people. Unfortunately it turned out that not all of the statements that were made were honest. And many of the wars and conflicts since that period have resulted in tragedy.”
Snowden has been living in Russia since fleeing the U.S. and has not ventured outside of the country because of concerns he will be extradited.
Academy President Hege Newth Nouri says he hopes to see Snowden in Norway one day.
PRESIDENT OF THE NORWEGIAN ACADEMY OF LITERATURE AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, HEGE NEWTH NOURI,
“Edward Snowden, we are many that will fight for that to be a reality. I congratulate you with this year’s Bjornson prize.”
Stateside, Snowden is facing charges of stealing government property and violating the U.S. Espionage Act.