In a very close vote, the European Parliament told its member states to drop the pending criminal charges against American whistleblower Edward Snowden. The the measure barely passed as European Parliament made the decision with a 285 to 281 vote.
The European Parliament said in a statement, “Snowden is an international human rights defender who must be protected as a whistleblower. Countries must grant him protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties.”
Last year, the European Parliament was reportedly planning to vote on a very similar measure, but in the end, an agreement was never reached to bring the matter to parliament vote.
In addition to the vote regarding Snowden, the polling was also part of a more widespread resolution passed by the European Parliament. The idea of this resolution was to monitor member countries of the European Union following the leaks by Edward Snowden.
Based on the findings of the European Parliament, not enough progress has been made at the present time in order to stop widespread surveillance in the aftermath of the Snowden leaks.
Meanwhile, there have also been cited concerns regarding new laws in Europe that have brought about an increase in the surveillance capabilities of intelligence bodies and security agencies.
In France, a new controversial surveillance law was passed earlier this year in April.
Additionally, the European Parliament also identified the United Kingdom and the Netherlands as countries that might be conducting too much spying on their citizens.
The European Parliament also praised a ruling that put an end to a controversial data-sharing agreement between Europe and the United States.
As for the Snowden decision, the ruling is not binding. There have been mixed opinions across European Union countries regarding the potential for Snowden to receive asylum in Europe.
Edward Snowden is currently in exile in Russia.