The family of Abu Akleh is still requesting that the US, Israel’s biggest supporter, launch an impartial probe.
Shireen Abu Akleh, a slain Palestinian journalist, has received numerous nominations from Members of European Parliament (MEPs) for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, the highest honour awarded by the EU on human rights advocates.
The 43 EU MPs, issued a statement on Friday which read, “Shireen Abu Akleh was one of the most prominent reporters in the Arab-speaking world […] A strong believer in freedom of expression, she chose journalism to be close to the people.”
If Abu Akleh receives the award posthumously, it will be the first time a Palestinian wins it.
Former awardees include Malala Yousafzai, Nelson Mandela and Alexei Navalny.
Shireen’s niece, Lina Abu Akleh, thanked the MEPs in a tweet:
“Thank you Grace O’Sullivan and all MEPs who joined their efforts in nominating Shireen Abu Akleh for this honorary award nomination,” Lina Abu Akleh tweeted.
The Al Jazeera journalist was wearing a helmet and protective vest with the word “Press” when she was shot in the head in May by Israeli forces while covering a raid in the occupied West Bank.
At the time, the EU demanded an impartial investigation into the journalist’s death and denounced the murder of the Palestinian-American.
Earlier this month, Israel acknowledged that one of its soldiers most likely shot the Al Jazeera journalist after months of evading criminal responsibility.
Israel originally claimed that the death occurred accidentally after a drawn-out gunfight with Palestinian militants. But according to corroborating evidence from independent investigations and eye-witness reports, an Israeli soldier took a targeted shot at Abu Akleh.
Continuing the Call for Justice
The 25-year tenure of Abu Akleh at Al Jazeera earned her the admiration of Palestinians and Arabs, as a journalistic hero.
Many, including human rights organizations, family members and Al Jazeera staff, have persisted in calling for those responsible to be held accountable.
“The investigations all reached the same conclusion: confirming the eyewitness accounts that Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by the Israeli occupation forces. Such conclusions reinforce the assertions of Al Jazeera Media Network and the Abu Akleh family that Shireen was deliberately targeted by the Israeli occupation forces,” said Al Jazeera.
The network is said to be working with legal experts to send the case to the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor’s office in The Hague.