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Traitors or heroes? Edward Snowden spotted in Geneva – in sculpture form

“Are Assange, Manning and Snowden traitors or heroes of our time?” asks the Italian artist Davide Dormino (left) 

(Keystone)

Edward Snowden is back in Geneva, alongside fellow whistleblowers Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning. Well, a bronze sculpture of them, that is. They feature in a new temporary installation in support of freedom of expression. 

"It is a monument to the courage of three people who said no to the establishment of comprehensive monitoring and lies, and have chosen to tell the truth," declared the Italian artist Davide Dormino, who created the bronze sculpture of the three whistleblowers. 

Entitled “Anything to Say?" his itinerant memorial was inaugurated on the Place des Nations in front of the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva on Monday. 

“Are Assange, Manning and Snowden traitors or heroes of our time?” asks the artist. A fourth chair has intentionally been left empty. Members of the public are encouraged to stand on the chair and make public statements. 

The one-ton sculpture was created as a testimony to freedom of expression and has already been shown in Berlin and Dresden. The exhibition will remain on the Place des Nations until Friday to coincide with the 30th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council which opened on Monday. From there it will travel on to Paris in September. 

Edward Snowden, a fugitive former US spy agency contractor, leaked details of major surveillance programmes in 2013. He is currently living in Russia where he has political asylum. Snowden was accredited to the US diplomatic mission in Geneva from March 2007 to February 2009, tapping communications systems. 

Julian Assange, founder of the secret-spilling website WikiLeaks, took refuge in Ecuador's London embassy in 2012 to try to avoid a Swedish arrest warrant. 

Chelsea Manning was an intelligence analyst, formerly known as Bradley Manning, who was convicted in 2013 of espionage and other offenses for sending more than 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks while working in Iraq. She is jailed at Fort Leavenworth in the United States for leaking reams of war logs, diplomatic cables and battlefield video to the anti-secrecy website in 2010.

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