Rabat, Morocco (TMT)- Jailed Moroccan Rif activist Nasser Zefzafi missed by a hair’s breath the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought following Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, jailed in Russia on terrorism charges, receiving the award.
Nasser Zefzafi was among the three shortlisted for the prestigious Human Rights awards, including Non-governmental organisations saving migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, and Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian film director jailed for 20 years by a Russian court following the annexation of Crimea.
Nasser has very good chances of winning the 2019 edition of the award, if still jailed by then.
The Netherlands was among the main supporters lobbying for Nasser, especially following the ongoing political spat between the two countries, triggered initially after the jailing of various Rif activists amid the Rif protests.
The Netherlands has always tried since the beginning of the Rif Crisis to play the role of a mediator to attenuate the situation, notably with various Dutch politicians visiting Morocco for that matter, albeit to no avail.
However, given Morocco’s “refusal of Netherlands to mingle in its internal affairs” as expressed by Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Nasser Bourita, the European country moved to an arm wrestling contest with its Moroccan counterpart, triggering its politicians to usher a vocal voice in the European Union’s corridors to enable Hirak leader Nasser Zefzafi reach the last stage of the competition, landing among the last three shortlisted for the award.
It is worth reminding that the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, honors individuals and groups of people who “have dedicated their lives to the defense of human rights and freedom of thought.” It is named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, a nuclear physicist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975 for his efforts to stand up for civil rights.
The Moroccan Times.