Amnesty: Israel should release Walid Daqqah immediately

Middle East Monitor  /  August 17, 2023

Amnesty International yesterday said that Israeli occupation authorities should release “terminally ill” Palestinian prisoner Walid Daqqah so that he can access specialist medical care and spend his remaining time with his family.

“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,” Amnesty said in a statement.

“Following his cancer diagnosis last year, 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,” Amnesty added.

Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “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.”

According to Morayef, Walid is currently facing the prospect of a painful death behind bars.

“Denying prisoners access to adequate medical care violates international standards on the treatment of detainees, and may constitute torture,“ she added.

“Israeli authorities must release Walid Daqqah on humanitarian grounds as soon as possible, and ensure that he is provided with the medical care he urgently needs.”

Daqqah served a 37-year prison sentence for his alleged involvement in killing an Israeli soldier in 1984. He should have been released in March 2023. However, in 2018 he was sentenced to a further two years on charges of attempting to smuggle phones to prisoners.

“He is now due for release in March 2025,” Amnesty said, noting that this is “a date he may not live to see.”