Archbishop Desmond Tutu nominates imprisoned Palestinian for Nobel Peace Prize

South African archbishop and social rights activist Desmond Tutu has nominated Marwan Barghouti, an imprisoned Palestinian, for a Nobel Peace Prize.

On June 8, he tweeted, "I have nominated imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti for ‪#NobelPeacePrize 2017. For peace and justice."

Barghouti was arrested by the Israeli army in 2002, having been accused to founding the the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. He was sentenced in 2004 to 40 years imprisonment for attempted murder and five life sentence for five murders. During his trial, he reportedly condemned attacks on innocent civilians but supported armed resistance against the Israeli occupation. He is the leader Tanzim, a militant faction of the political movement Fatah, formerly called the Palestinian National Liberation Movement founded by Yasser Arafat.

Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti attends a deliberation at Jerusalem Magistrate's court, in this January 25, 2012 file photo. | REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD/FILES

In 2002, Barghouti wrote, "While I, and the Fatah movement to which I belong, strongly oppose attacks and the targeting of civilians inside Israel, our future neighbor, I reserve the right to protect myself, to resist the Israeli occupation of my country and to fight for my freedom."

Archbishop Tutu, meanwhile, received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. He helped stop the apartheid in South Africa in the '80s and, according to Christian Today, is a supporter of ending the Israeli occupaton of Palestine.

"The nomination of Marwan Barghouti, a symbol of the Palestinian people's struggle for freedom, constitutes a clear signal of support for the realization of the Palestinian people's inalienable rights, including to self-determination," Ma'an News Agency quotes a Tutu's letter. "I call on the members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee to seize this occasion to bring attention back to the question of Palestine and to the calls for a just and lasting peace, a prospect Marwan Barghouti continues advocating and acting for, despite years of imprisonment and isolation." 

The recipient of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday, Oct. 7.