[The Palestinian Youth Movement put out this statement pressing for the freedom of Palestinian political prisoner Walid Daqqah. Click here to sign onto the petition.]
We, the undersigned, call on international actors to demand the immediate release of Walid Daqqah. In the next week, an Israeli occupation court will determine whether Daqqah will appear before an early release committee. Leading up to this decision, it is vital that all progressive, international forces place pressure on the occupying force – Israel – to guarantee Daqqah’s release and expose the illegal nature of its continued imprisonment of him. We are deeply concerned for the well-being of Daqqah and thousands of Palestinians who continue to be held in Israeli prisons or detention centers under harsh conditions, including unhygienic conditions, solitary confinement, physical and psychological torture, harassment, lack of proper medical care, denial of family visits and denial of due process. We demand that Daqqah receive comprehensive medical treatment urgently and that he be allowed to see his family.
Walid Daqqah is a 61-year-old Palestinian writer, intellectual and organiser who has been imprisoned in Israeli jails since 1986 for his resistance. He has been detained for almost 37 years now. He has been denied the right to have a family, to raise his own daughter, and to see his dying parents. Last year, Daqqah was diagnosed with Myelofibrosis – a rare form of bone marrow cancer that disrupts the body’s normal production of blood cells. Despite his deteriorating health, Israel refused to release him or provide him access to urgent, life-saving medical care. The occupation is killing Walid Daqqah in an act of deliberate medical negligence. This medical negligence on behalf of the Israeli state is a brazen violation of international humanitarian law that guarantees the rights of prisoners in occupied territories and access to necessary medical care for those who are sick.
Throughout his imprisonment, Daqqah has faced severe medical negligence from Israeli prison authorities, including repeated delays in treatment and the denial of an urgent bone marrow transplant, all of which has led to serious deterioration in his condition and overall health. Earlier this year he underwent surgery to remove part of his lung, after which he was placed in intensive care. He was transferred again to intensive care in May of this year due to his further deteriorating health, but authorities quickly transferred Daqqah back to his prison clinic, without allowing him time for proper treatment.
Israel’s denial of necessary medical treatment to Walid Daqqah is an illegal practice regularly used to kill Palestinian prisoners. In December 2022, Israel killed Palestinian leader Nasser Abu Hamid in prison by refusing to provide the necessary medical treatment for his cancer. Just this May 2023, Palestinian leader Khader Adnan was martyred in prison as a result of Israel’s deliberate medical negligence. We condemn Israel’s murder of imprisoned Palestinian leaders and refuse this to become Daqqah’s fate.
The undersigned call on all international actors to place immediate and persistent pressure on Israel and the ‘Israel Prison Services’ to ensure the immediate release of Daqqah. In line with his family's campaign, we call on Amnesty International; the United Nations; the International Committee of the Red Cross; and Human Rights Watch to take immediate action by:
1. Publicly condemning the Israeli regime for their unlawful treatment of Walid Daqqah and the policy of medical negligence inside of Israeli prisons at large.
2. Amplify our demands for Walid Daqqah’s immediate release and ensure that he receives the urgent, life-saving medical care that he needs.
3. Urgently form a medical team in communication with his family campaign and prisoners' institutions to visit Walid, in order to break the medical blackout about his condition.
4. Pressure the occupying power to allow Daqqah’s family unrestricted access to visitation rights and knowledge on the progression of his health.
5. Urge the United Nations Security Council to take action by referring this grave violation of international law to the International Criminal Court. Israel’s medical negligence against Daqqah is a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention which enlists the rights of prisoners in occupied territories. It “is illegal and can be defined as a war crime or crime against humanity.”