Occupation regime again denies release of Walid Daqqah; delays amount to a policy of assassination

On Wednesday, 31 May, the Israeli prison system’s “early release committee” hearing the case of Palestinian prisoner and intellectual Walid Daqqah refused to rule on his release, instead once again delaying his case and his treatment by referring his file to the “release committee for prisoners with life sentences.” This is despite the fact that Daqqah’s life sentence was reduced to 37 years and ended in March; he is now serving an additional 2-year sentence after being accused of smuggling a mobile phone. This decision is yet another indication that Israel seeks to assassinate Walid Daqqah by denying him access to proper medical care.

Daqqah is suffering from the rare bone marrow cancer myelofibrosis and in need of proper medical treatment that he can only obtain outside prison, particularly a bone marrow transplant. His health has declined dramatically on multiple occasions, he has suffered from a stroke, pneumonia, and surgery to remove a large portion of his lung. Nonetheless, he is repeatedly returned to the notorious Ramleh prison clinic, referred to as a “slaughterhouse” by the prisoners.

During the “early release committee” hearing, Daqqah’s family organized a protest outside the Ramleh prison to call for his release; the protesters were attacked by Zionist settlers calling for Daqqah’s death and threatening his family members, while the occupation police stood by.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joins the family of Walid Daqqah, the campaign for his freedom and the entire Palestinian people in demanding his immediate release, the only way in which he can receive proper treatment without restrictions. The Israeli prison administration and the Zionist regime hold full responsibility for his life as they continue to deny him an appropriate environment to treat his rare cancer. The systematic delays, denial of appropriate treatment and repeated medical negligence are tantamount to an ongoing assassination attempt on a Palestinian intellectual and freedom fighter. 

The family of Walid Daqqah and the official campaign for his release issued a statement, which we are republishing below in English:

A statement issued by the family and campaign for the release of the prisoner Walid Daqqah regarding “transferring his file to the Committee for the Release of Life Prisoners” 

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

The release committee of the Israeli Prison Service decided not to rule on the early release of sick prisoner Walid Daqqah, and to transfer his file to the release committee for life prisoners. The hearing convened today, Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at 8:30 am, at the occupation court in “Ma’asiyahu Prison”-Ramleh. During the meeting of the committee, settlers attacked the family of the prisoner, Walid Daqqah, and the small number of his supporters who had managed to reach the court, including his wife, Sanaa Ahmed Salameh, and his three-year-old daughter, Milad. The settlers hurled racist slurs and slogans at them and threatened them with death and “meeting the same fate” as the prisoner Walid Daqqah, in full view and under the protection of the occupation police.

We, the family and the campaign for the release of the prisoner Walid Daqqah, consider this decision to be an authorization to execute the prisoner Walid Daqqa by procrastinating in making a decision about his release despite the very high degree of danger in his health condition, which was recognized even by the report of the occupation prison service. Despite this report, the removal of the “high-risk prisoner” classification of Walid Daqqah, the expiration of his unjust 37-year life sentence since 24 March 2023, and the appearance of some editorials in the occupation newspapers urging his release…The court, however, decided otherwise.

Therefore, we turn to all legal institutions, popular movements, and our Palestinian people in all places of their presence, to intensify the advocacy of our campaign today and every day. We also renew our call on all factions of the Palestinian national movement throughout historic Palestine, and the official Palestinian political leadership to carry out their duty through all available means to issue a decision at the political level in the occupying state to release the captive Walid Daqqah before it is too late.

Please join us today, 31 May, for a special Zoom webinar with Sanaa Salameh to discuss the urgent international campaign to free Walid Daqqah. Click here to register for the event. 

Download posters for local events and read more about the life and struggle of Walid Daqqah here.