Israeli Authorities Should Release Walid Daqqah Immediately
Amnesty International said in a statement published on Wednesday, 16 August 2023 that Israeli authorities should release Walid Daqqah, a terminally ill Palestinian detainee, so he can access specialist medical care and spend his remaining time with his family.
The Palestinian detainee Walid Daqqah, 62, suffers from chronic lung disease and bone marrow cancer, and the clinic at Israel’s Ayalon Prison is ill-equipped to deal with his conditions.
Last year, following Daqqah’s cancer diagnosis the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) denied Walid Daqqah access to a potentially life-saving bone marrow transplant by refusing to transfer him to a civilian hospital.
”Walid Daqqah’s case illustrates the Israeli justice system’s cruelty towards Palestinians, including those who are seriously ill or dying. Walid’s health conditions have already been exacerbated by medical neglect on the part of the Israeli Prison Service – when he had a stroke earlier this year, the IPS refused to transfer him to a proper hospital for 11 days, a delay which led to life-threatening complications. Now, Walid Daqqah faces the prospect of a painful death behind bars,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Walid Daqqah served a 37-year prison sentence for his involvement with an armed group that abducted and killed an Israeli soldier in 1984. He completed this sentence in March 2023. However, in 2018 he was sentenced to a further two years on charges of attempting to smuggle phones to other Palestinian prisoners. He is now due for release in March 2025 – a date he may not live to see.
On 26 June 2023, a special parole board rejected Walid Daqqah’s request for early release on the grounds of his illness. On 7 August 2023, the Lod District Court rejected Walid Daqqah’s petition against the parole board’s decision.
Amnesty International’s 2022 report on Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians sets out how the Israeli military justice system systematically discriminates against Palestinians and denies them the right to a fair trial and due process.
In 2022 Walid Daqqah was diagnosed with myelofibrosis, a rare form of bone marrow cancer. He also has chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD).
Following the IPS’s delay in transferring him for emergency treatment after his stroke in February, Walid Daqqah suffered a host of complications including pneumonia and kidney failure, and had to have most of his right lung removed.
Israeli Occupation uses deliberate medical negligence as a common punitive measure against Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails.
600 sick Palestinian detainees have been held in the Israeli occupation jails, including 23 cancer-stricken prisoners.
73 Palestinian prisoners lost their lives inside Israeli occupation prisons since 1967 due to a systematic policy of deliberate medical negligence, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club.