The family of Walid Daqqah, the imprisoned Palestinian intellectual and freedom fighter suffering from a rare form of cancer (myelofibrosis) and subjected to years of Israeli medical neglect inside occupation prisons, announced on Monday, 22 May that he had been transferred once again from the Ramle prison clinic to Assaf Harofeh civilian hospital.
The family also highlighted the importance in following updates from the official campaign page and avoiding the spread of unconfirmed reports.
He was transferred due to the deterioration of his health due to complications from the surgery performed on him to remove a portion of his right lung after he developed pneumonia during his cancer treatment. He is suffering from a severe inability to breathe and infection. 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.
One week ago, on Monday, 15 May, Palestinian prisoners went on a one-day hunger strike to demand freedom for Walid Daqqah, as well as an end to the isolation and interrogation of imprisoned leaders Ahmad Sa’adat, Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh and Walid Hanatsheh.
Despite the severe condition of Daqqah’s health, he has been repeatedly removed from civilian hospitals and returned to the infamous Ramle prison clinic, referred to as the “slaughterhouse” by Palestinian prisoners.
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. Walid needs intensive health treatment for the lungs, kidneys and blood, and he also needs a very sensitive bone marrow transplant procedure (noting that more than one donor is available). This requires a therapeutic environment that is not available at a minimum level, in light of the conditions of his captivity and the strict guarding practiced by the prison administration.
The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council noted, about his medical condition:
The only curative treatment for Walid is a bone marrow transplant—one of the most difficult and dangerous medical procedures currently known. Gatt also recommended that Walid be put in a clean place where exposure to infections can be minimized, neither of which is possible inside the miserable conditions offered by Israeli prisons.
In mid-February 2023, Walid suffered from a severe cardiovascular stroke that led to a physical injury on his chest. Not only did the IPS in Askalan prison refuse to transfer him to a hospital for emergency treatment, the in-house prison clinic, despite diagnosing a blood clot as the cause of the stroke, refused to provide him with a necessary blood transfusion. Consequently, Walid lost a lot of blood through a minor tongue wound in the days that followed. Further, his medical records indicated that he lost over 10 kilos (22 pounds) in one and a half months. Only after his hematologist visited Askalan for a routine appointment, nearly two weeks after the stroke, was Walid finally transferred to Barzilai Medical Center. Similarly, as Walid developed symptoms of severe pneumonia over the past couple of weeks, the IPS once again ignored his health and evaded hospital admission until his lawyers and doctors intervened. Walid is currently being held in a private room at Barzilai, suffering from pneumonia, kidney failure, and a life-threatening drop in blood cell count.
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, Daqqah 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 Palestine and to organize actions and events demanding his immediate liberation and that of all Palestinian prisoners. Use these signs below in your actions and campaigns, and send us your photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or via email at email@example.com.
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