Anti apartheid activist and Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, Desmond Mpilo Tutu, has nominated Marwan Barghouthi, a Palestinian political activist for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The announcement was made through his official twitter handle where he wrote, ‘‘I have nominated imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti for #NobelPeacePrize 2017. For peace and justice.’‘
However, the letter Tutu submitted in respect of his nominee to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, described the jailed Barghouthi as a symbol of the Palestinian people and their “struggle for freedom, [which] constitutes a clear signal of support for the realization of the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights, including to self-determination.”
Barghouthi is one of several Palestinian parliamentarians who have been abducted and imprisoned by Israel since 2002 according to reports, because he stands as a symbol of injustice against Israeli occupation.
The letter also trumpeted Barghouthi’s continuous advocacy for lasting peace, despite years of imprisonment and isolation.
Of the Palestinian struggle for liberation, Tutu’s letter said, “Israel has arrested since 1967 over 850,000 Palestinians in the most striking example of mass arbitrary arrest in contemporary history. It has arrested leaders, militants, academics, journalists, children, women, the elderly and human rights defenders in an attempt to break the will of an entire people striving for freedom and independence.”
“The 7,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails today are a reflection of the imprisonment of a nation and the negation of its rights, through occupation, oppression and siege. The freedom of the Palestinian prisoners is a pre-requisite for the freedom of the Palestinian people,” it added.
Tutu, a social rights activist and Capetown’s first black Archbishop, is himself an activist for the liberation of Palestinian prisoners, serving a member of the International High Level Committee of the Campaign for the freedom of Barghouthi and all Palestinian prisoners. He rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as a strong opponent of apartheid.