Judoka Fethi Nourine, 30, says he doesn’t regret having refused to fight in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after discovering that i could face a rival from Israel, the fighter Tohar Butbul. In an interview with sheet, the Algerian said he would do it all again.
“No, I have never regretted it and I will not regret it. I will continue to talk about Zionism, complicity, the hypocrisy of international organizations and the lies about our people [muçulmanos]”, declarou Nourine.
“International organizations clamor for individual freedom. That’s what I did: I withdrew [das Olimpíadas] and boycotted the confrontation with the athlete of the Zionist entity. It went against my personal will. Therefore, I did not commit a crime”, defends Nourine.
The Algerian claims that he followed the principles of the Olympic Charter when protesting for the rights of the Palestinian people.
“International organizations and Olympic values call for Islam and freedom. Israel goes against all the principles of these organizations. They occupied a land, established a state in a place that already had its own people and disregarded all human rights,” criticized the judoka.
Nourine refers to Article 6 of the Olympic Charter, which states that rights and freedom “shall be guaranteed without discrimination of any kind, such as race, color, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national origin or social status, property, birth or other status”.
However, the judoka’s refusal to fight made the IOC (International Olympic Committee) respond at the time that it had been a violation of the document.
For leaving the competition, an act that was also accompanied by coach Amar Benikhle, the fighter initially had his credentials revoked and was sent back to Algeria. The FIJ (International Judo Federation) had already suspended them preventively.
It was a cruel and expected punishment. This is proof of the complicity and support of the International Federation [de Judô] with the Zionist terrorist entity, which every day kills, arrests and besieges innocent Palestinians
Together, the IFJ Disciplinary Commission decided to punish Nourine and Benikhle with a harsh penalty rarely seen in sport: ten years of suspension from all competitions and activities promoted by the entity.
At the Olympics, harsh punishments for political demonstrations were more common in times past.
At the 1968 Mexico City Games, Americans Tommy Smith and John Carlos, gold and bronze in the 200 m, respectively, raised their closed fists, wearing black gloves, during the podium ceremony. The gesture, a reference to the Black Panthers movement, was a protest against racism in the United States.
For the act, they were excluded from the competition and suspended by the IOC, but kept their medals. Smith and Carlos dropped out of athletics the following year.
In Seoul-1988, there was the biggest doping scandal in Olympic history. Ben Johnson had won the 100m final, beating rival Carl Lewis and setting a new world record. Two days later, however, the farce was discovered: the Canadian’s anti-doping test revealed the presence of the anabolic steroid stanozolol. The sprinter was stripped of the medal and was suspended for two years.
Another famous case, this one of rebellion, took place at the Beijing-2008 Olympics. Ara Abrahamian threw the bronze medal on the floor after the wrestling podium ceremony (up to 84 kg category).
The fighter, born in Armenia and naturalized Swedish, was irritated by the elimination in the semifinal, in a decision of the referees. He ended up suspended, but authorized by Fila (International Federation of Associated Wrestling) to return to competition the following year.
All the cases had far lighter punishments than those given to Nourine. The judo federation justified the measure by saying that “it is evident that the two Algerians, with bad intentions, used the Olympic Games as a platform to protest and promote political and propaganda propaganda. religious, which is a clear and serious violation of the IFJ’s statutes and Code of Ethics and the Olympic Charter.”
IFJ leaders also invoked the famous article 50 of the Olympic Charter, which prohibits any “political, religious or racial demonstration or propaganda”, and this initiative is banned “in any Olympic venues, facilities or other areas”. Nourine considers the punishment unfair.
“It was a cruel and expected punishment. This is proof of the complicity and support of the International Federation [de Judô] with the Zionist terrorist entity, which every day kills, arrests and besieges innocent Palestinians,” said the judoka.
“Based on what [critérios] am I being punished for so long?” he asked.
In fact, at the Olympic Games, the IOC adopted a tone of flexibility in relation to the topic. Athletes who made political demonstrations on the podium, for example, they only took warnings, but there was no punishment.
In the shot put, the American Raven Saunders, 25, who got the silver medal, raised her arms and crossed them, in the shape of an X. In the interview after the conquest, she said that the gesture meant “the intersection where all oppressed people meet”.
The IOC ended the matter after Saunders lost his mother, Clarissa, days after winning the Olympic medal. Death served to end the case, without having to take any action planned by itself in situations of disrespect for the rules.
The Chinese Bao Shanju and Zhong Tianshi, Olympic champions in the sprint race by track cycling teams, used brooches of the dictator Mao Tse-tung, who ruled China from 1949 to 1976.
The Chinese Olympic Committee informed the IOC that cyclists were warned that they could not wear such emblems at a podium ceremony and promised that this would not happen again. The international committee closed the case.
The suspension given to Nourine, in practice, ends the judoka’s career. He could only go back to competing at age 40, when most high-performance athletes have retired.
It is also possible to appeal to the TAS (Sports Arbitration Court) in Lausanne, Switzerland, the last instance of judgment in sports. The Algerian says he will fight for his rights until the end.
“Yes, I will appeal. If they insist on punishing, I will insist on exposing them too. I will show that in the next few days,” replied Nourine, who is very active on social media in defending the Palestinian cause.
Last Tuesday (14), he posted an image of Muhammad Arda, 39, on Instagram.
Arda, imprisoned since 2002, was sentenced to life in prison for participating in military operations against Israel. He is accused of belonging to the Al-Quds Brigades, an armed militia that has Israel as its enemy and defends a sovereign Palestinian state.
“Oh, international organizations: where are the human rights you defend as we see the effect of torture on the prisoners’ faces? Or is it their fault they are Muslims?” Nourine wrote.
It is an activism that the judoka does not intend to abandon, even after the suspension. He says he will continue using social networks and other means to defend the values he believes.
“The Palestinian cause is a just cause. And a sensible and just person will not deviate from it. I am a Muslim and it is my duty to support my Muslim brothers. And that is a belief in my religion,” he concludes.