MEP for Ireland South Grace O’Sullivan has called on the European Parliament this week to award the 2022 “Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought” to slain broadcaster Shireen Abu Akleh. Israeli military authorities on Monday admitted that there was a “high probability” the Al Jazeera journalist was killed by an Israeli soldier in May this year, following initial denials.
The Sakharov Prize promotes freedom of expression, the rights of minorities, respect for international law, the development of democracy and the implementation of the rule of law. Russian dissident Alexei Navalny currently holds the award for his work in opposing the Putin regime. The award has been given posthumously on two occasions in the past.
Speaking from Brussels today, Grace O’Sullivan said; “Months have passed since Shireen’s killing in May, when she was shot in plain sight wearing her Press jacket and clearly identified. Numerous investigations by media outlets have corroborated the evidence that she was killed by Israeli soldiers, yet no justice has been served. Unfortunately for journalists in many parts of the world, their work makes them important targets for governments and militaries.”
“Earlier this year I hosted Shireen’s family in the European Parliament, and they are eager to get the EU’s support for a thorough international investigation into Shireen’s death including charges against those responsible. Awarding Shireen this prize posthumously will help to build that international momentum for justice, also for the thousands of journalists facing persecution and threats the world over.”
The various political groups of the European Parliament will decide upon their nominees in the coming days before negotiations begin. The Sakharov Prize Winner is officially announced towards the end of the year.