Free Walid Daqqah: Palestinian prisoner confronting medical neglect and struggling for freedom

Haifa demonstration for the release of Walid Daqqah

On Sunday, 7 May, Sana’ Salameh, the wife of imprisoned Palestinian intellectual, writer and freedom fighter Walid Daqqah confirmed that he had been returned to Barzilai hospital two days prior, after he had been removed from the civilian hospital and returned to the infamous Ramleh prison clinic. On 12 April 2023, Daqqah underwent surgery to remove part of his lung after he developed pneumonia, a complication of his ongoing, delayed and inadequate treatment for the rare bone marrow cancer, myelofibrosis.

Salameh and the Daqqah family have emphasized the importance of following the official campaign page for updates on Daqqah’s health, medical treatment and legal case, in order to avoid rumors and misinformation.

Daqqah was diagnosed with myelofibrosis in December 2022, following a leukemia diagnosis 10 years before. Daqqah, 62, has been imprisoned since 25 March 1986. Sentenced to 37 years in occupation prisons, he should have been released in March of this year (2023), except for an additional two-year punitive sentence added on to his prison sentence, allegedly related to accessing mobile phones inside occupation prisons.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network reiterates our call for Daqqah’s immediate release from Zionist prisons, and the release of all Palestinian prisoners. The policy of long-term medical neglect is a policy of the slow execution of Palestinian detainees, with Walid Daqqah the latest example of this brutal policy.

The family have emphasized their demand: the immediate release of Walid Daqqah so that he may receive treatment without conditions or restrictions. They have urged widespread action to seek his liberation. 

Charleroi, Belgium – May Day demonstrators demand freedom for Walid Daqqah, Khader Adnan and all Palestinian prisoners

The systematic and deadly nature of Israeli medical neglect is clear in the case of Khader Adnan, who lost his life after 86 days on hunger strike after repeatedly being denied transfer to a civilian hospital. In Daqqah’s case, he is denied family visits even in a civilian hospital and is treated as a prisoner; the Ramle prison clinic, where he had been transferred on 30 April, is even more notorious as an unsuitable environment dangerous for a person receiving treatment for a rare cancer like myelofibrosis.

Palestinian prisoners have declared their dedication to fight for Daqqah’s release. The Handala Center for Prisoners and Former Prisoners said that Palestinian detainees in Nafha and the Naqab desert prison were demanding Daqqah’s release, planning protest actions and wearing prison uniforms to show their readiness to struggle.

Daqqah obtained a master’s degree in political science and wrote several books while behind bars, in the realm of political theory as well as fiction, including children’s fiction. On multiple occasions, he has faced harsh repression, including solitary confinement, especially targeted toward his expressive work. For example, Daqqah was thrown into solitary confinement when he published a new children’s book, “The Secret of Oil”; a launch event for the book in the town of Majd al-Kurum was shut down by far-right Israeli minister Aryeh Deri. In the preface to the book, Daqqa wrote, “I write until I am freed from prison, with the hope of freeing the prison from me.” This followed the defunding of a Haifa Palestinian theater that exhibited a play based on his work “Parallel Time.” His family’s official campaign page asserts:

“In spite of all the injustices and discriminations inflicted upon Daqqah throughout the 37 years of his incarceration, he has managed remarkable achievements that have made him in to the political, intellectual and cultural icon that he is. He has been a leader among the Palestinian Prisoners’ Movement and is a prominent figure in the Palestinian, Arab and international cultural scene, in particular in the field of prison studies. Even his intellectual life has been deemed dangerous as prisoner authorities subjected Daqqah to extra punishment due to his political, social and intellectual activism, in particular solitary confinement.

Daqqah is a prolific author. Among his works: Testimonies of Resistance: The Battle of Jenin Camp 2002 (2004); Consciousness Molded or the Re-identification of Torture (2010); The Story of the Forgotten in Parallel Time (2011); The Oil’s Secret Tale (2018); The Sword’s Secret Tale (2021); The Spirit’s Secret Tale/ The Martyrs Return to Ramallah (2022). In addition, Daqqah published several translations, and tens of articles both in Arabic and Hebrew, most prominently: “Parallel Tine” (2005); “Milad: I Write to a Childe Yet to Be Born” (2011); “Liberate Yourself by Yourself” (2020), and “Control through Time” (2021). Daqqah also has several unpublished manuscripts, paintings, poetry, lyrics, and autobiographical and theatrical writings.

Under these harsh circumstances, Daqqah married the activist, journalist and translator Sana’ Salamah on 10 August, 1999 in Askalan Prison. The occupation state denied them conjugal visits and their right to be parents, in spite of all the appeals. Undeterred, on 3 March 2020 their daughter Milad was born in Nazareth from liberated semen for artificial insemination.”

We urge Palestinian communities around the world and supporters of Palestine to include the campaign to free Walid Daqqah in your events and activities for Nakba 75 and the Week of Palestinian Struggle, representing the unity of all Palestinians and of Palestine from the river to the sea. Use these signs below in your actions and campaigns, and send us your photos on FacebookInstagram and Twitter or via email at

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