The prize is an annual award introduced in 2013 by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Rabat – A Belgian member of the European Parliament, Kathleen Van Brempt, has proposed the prominent leader of the Hirak Rif protests, Nasser Zefzafi, as a candidate for the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize.
On her Facebook page, Van Brempt said she had been honored to meet the parents of Zefzafi.
“Last year I had the honor and pleasure of welcoming the parents of Nasser Zafzafi to the European Parliament.”
She added, “We dedicate Nasser Zafzafi for the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize.”
Van Brempt also condemned the ruling of the Casablanca Court of Appeals that upheld the sentences of 54 Hirak activists on April 5.
The sentences range between 1 and 20 years.
Zefzafi was one of four Hirak activists to receive a 20-year prison sentence in June 2018 for participating in unauthorized protests in the Al Hoceima province.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) awards the prize annually in partnership with the Vaclav Havel Library and the Charter 77 Foundation to “reward exceptional actions of society in the defense of human rights in Europe and outside the continent,” according to PACE.
The prize, which is €60,000 and a diploma, is dedicated every year to commemorate Vaclav Havel, a playwright and former president of Czechoslovakia.
Zefzafi was also a finalist for the Sakharov “Freedom of Thought Prize” in 2018.
Members of the European Parliament in the foreign affairs and development committees voted to choose the three finalists of the Sakharov Prize. Nasser Zefzafi, along with Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian filmmaker, and NGOs working to save migrants in the Mediterranean sea, were the three finalists. Sentsov won the prize.