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Israel rejects appeal to release cancer sufferer Walid Daqqa

'It's authorisation to execute him': Israel rejects appeal for early release of cancer prisoner Walid Daqqa
2 min read
08 August, 2023
Walid Daqqa, who has already served 37 years in prison, is serving two more years on various charges despite suffering from cancer and other health issues.
Walid Daqqa's family said that they would once again appeal the Israeli court's decision refusing the early release of Walid Daqqa [Getty]

An Israeli district court on Monday refused an early release request for a cancer-stricken Palestinian prisoner despite an official appeal from his family who called the decision "a death sentence".

Lod Central Court rejected an appeal by the family of prisoner Walid Daqqa, which was made on 9 July after his health rapidly worsened, The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.

"We consider any decision or ruling that does not lead to the immediate release of the prisoner as an authorisation to execute him," they said in a statement.

"The Central Court in Lod issued a decision rejecting the early release of the prisoner Walid Daqqa, despite the extreme danger to his life and the deterioration of his health during the past five months."

Daqqa's wife, Sana, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the family intends to appeal Monday's ruling at the Supreme Court.

The Israeli Prisons Administration's Committee for Early Releases rejected an earlier request for the release of Daqqa on 26 June on the grounds that his illness "wasn’t serious enough", which the family appealed.

The 62-year-old was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer in December last year, with some doctors saying he has only two years to live. Daqqa has been undergoing treatment at Ramleh prison clinic, which has been described as "inadequate" by his family.


He also suffers from other health problems, such as inflammation in his lungs, and is reportedly unable to walk or talk properly, according to Al Jazeera.

Daqqa completed a 37-year prison sentence in March this year. He was convicted of being part of a Palestinian cell which captured and killed an Israeli soldier in 1986.

The veteran prisoner had a further two years added on to his sentence in 2017 for allegedly smuggling phones to Palestinian prisoners seeking to contact their families. Israel now refuses to release Daqqa until March 2025.

In their statement, Daqqa's family went on to urge "all political and popular parties to support our campaign - nationally, in the Arab world and globally - until Walid Daqqa is released".

Daqqa, who has written several books while in prison, was one of a dozen Palestinian prisoners whose release was agreed upon in the 1993 Oslo Accords. Hours before he was to be set free, Israeli authorities reneged on the decision due to unspecified political reasons.

Daqqa hails from the Palestinian town of Baqa al-Gharbiyye in Israel and is among the most prominent intellectuals in the Palestinians Prisoners' Movement.

Over 4,500 Palestinians are held in Israeli prisons according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PCC), among them 700 detainees suffering from illnesses.