Palestinian long-time prisoner Walid Daqqa, 55, was ordered to an additional month in solitary confinement, until 8 March, on 12 February. Daqqa is one of the longest-held prisoners in Israeli jails, imprisoned since 25 March 1986 alongside his comrades Rushdi and Ibrahim Abu Mukh and Ibrahim Bayadseh, for their involvement in a Palestinian resistance action targeting an Israeli soldier.
Daqqa has been held in solitary confinement since 25 January, accused of unauthorized communication with his lawyer; he suffers from a number of health problems. His lawyer Ahmed Khalifa has emphasized that he is further at risk to his life and health due to his isolation.
Daqqa has been for years a prominent leader in the prisoners’ movement; the play, “A Parallel Time” – the subject of an Israeli state campaign against a Palestinian theater in Haifa in 2015 – reflects Daqqa’s stories and experiences. Despite multiple pledges to release pre-Oslo prisoners, the Israeli state has refused to release Daqqa and his comrades, insisting that as they are Palestinians holding Israeli citizenship, they are a separate matter from their fellow 7,000 Palestinian prisoners.
Daqqa was isolated shortly after he was brought into the case of the persecution of Palestinian Knesset member Basel Ghattas of the National Democratic Alliance (Balad/Tajammu’) along with Daqqa’s brother Assad. They are accused of bringing cell phones into Israeli prisons for Palestinian political prisoners. On the same day Walid Daqqa was isolated, his brother As’ad was brought before an Israeli district court and was later ordered to house imprisonment; As’ad Daqqa is accused of providing the alleged cell phones to Ghattas.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s Prison Branch issued a statement saying that “We hold the occupation and its prison administration fully responsible for the life and safety of Comrade Walid Daqqa and see this isolation as an attempt to sentence him to slow death,” while protests in Yafa and elsewhere have continued to demand his release from isolation.