Passed by a 285 to 281 vote, the resolution calls on EU member states to "drop any criminal charges against Edward Snowden, grant him protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistle-blower and international human rights defender."
Snowden, who's been residing in Russia since 2013, responded to the resolution on Twitter by calling it a "game-changer":
Hearing reports EU just voted 285-281, overcoming huge pressure, to cancel all charges against me and prevent extradition. Game-changer.— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 29, 2015
This is not a blow against the US Government, but an open hand extended by friends. It is a chance to move forward. pic.twitter.com/fBs5H32wyD— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 29, 2015
While the resolution is not binding, Wolfgang Kaleck, Snowden's lawyer in Berlin, told the Daily Dot in an email, "It is an overdue step and we urge the member States to act now to implement the resolution."
U.S.-based digital rights group Fight for the Future welcomed the news as well. Evan Greer, the organization's campaign director, said, "We hope that this resolution leads to a binding agreement in the EU that allows Edward Snowden to move to whichever EU country he wants, and we hope he gets an epic party thrown in his honor when he arrives."
"The battle over mass government surveillance is a decisive moment in the history of humanity, and it’s hard to think of anyone who has done more than Edward Snowden to educate the public about the grave risks that runaway spying programs pose to our basic human rights, the future of the Internet, and freedom of expression," he added.
The World Wide Web Foundation, which advocates for an open Internet and was founded by Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, called it a "landmark resolution." It added in a statement, "We call on national leaders to publicly commit to respecting the will of the European people and offering Snowden asylum."
Berners-Lee said in a Reddit Ask Me Anything session last year that Snowden "should be protected, and we should have ways of protecting people like him. Because we can try to design perfect systems of government, and they will never be perfect, and when they fail, then the whistleblower may be all that saves society."