On 10 July 2023, BADIL held a side event with the Special Rapporteur (SR) on the oPt, Mrs. Francesca Albanese and Mrs. Sana Salameh, the wife of Walid Daqqah, Palestinian political prisoner who continues to be detained while he has served the entirety of his 37-year sentence. The event, entitled “Deprivation of Liberty on both sides of the Green Line – A tool of Israel’s policy of domination and oppression over the Palestinian People: the case of Walid Daqqah” was attended by member states and civil society representatives.
Walid holds an Israeli citizenship, and despite having completed his sentence he continues to be arbitrarily detained as Israel added an additional two years to his sentence for acquiring a cell phone. Walid suffers from myelofibrosis (a rare form of bone cancer) and qualifies for early release. However, not only has Israel failed to provide Walid with timely and adequate health care in prison, it has also repeatedly denied him early release.
At the event, Sana presented Walid’s situation and the impact it has on their family, specifically citing the increase in retaliatory measures since the birth of their daughter, Milad, who is now three years old. Since Israel discriminatorily denied Sana and Walid conjugal visits, Milad was the result of smuggled sperm and artificial insemination. Milad was denied visitation rights for one and half years and that only came about after a lengthy and expensive legal battle.
The SR on the oPt concurred that Israel’s actions against Walid constitute arbitrary detention and discriminatory and ill treatment. Walid is one of the oldest Palestinian political prisoners and among a group of 23 Palestinian arbitrary detainees suffering from a fatal form of cancer.
The SR, based on her recent report on the arbitrary deprivation of liberty, stated that “arbitrary and deliberate ill-treatment is inflicted upon the Palestinians not only through unlawful practices in detention but also as a carceral continuum comprised of techniques of large-scale confinement -physical, bureaucratic, digital- beyond detention. These violations may amount to international crimes prosecutable under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and universal jurisdiction. Israel’s occupation has been a tool of settler colonial conquest also through intensifying methods of confinement against an entire people who – as any people would – continuously rebel against their prison wardens.”
In a joint communication to Israel, the Special Rapporteurs on health and the oPt, requested that Israel provides information on the legal grounds for the extension of the 37-year sentence by 2 years and the denial of appropriate medical care. The Special Rapporteurs stated that “since 1967, 236 Palestinian prisoners reportedly died in Israeli prisons, and 32 per cent of them (75 prisoners) allegedly died as a result of lack of access to adequate health care and living conditions” and reiterated that the Committee Against Torture repeatedly concluded that “inadequate detention conditions could amount to ill-treatment.”
BADIL stated: “Palestinian resistance aims to advance Palestinian rights and dignity, whether undertaken to achieve national rights of self-determination and return or other human rights, be they political, civil, social, economic or cultural. These goals are perceived as contradictory to Israel’s ultimate goal to create an exclusively Israeli-Jewish ‘homeland’ in the whole of Mandatory Palestine. As such, Israel suppresses Palestinian resistance with the ultimate aim to erase the Palestinian people’s national unity, fragment their identity, and perpetuate its denial of Palestinians’ right to self-determination and with it, their right to return.”
During the interactive dialogue on the report of the Special Rapporteur on the oPt, 60 states called for the release of Walid Daqqah and other arbitrarily detained Palestinians, especially those suffering from health issues. The Organization of the Islamic Conference, comprising of 57 states called on Israel to “release all Palestinian detainees, including Waleed Daqqah diagnosed with cancer, detained for more than 37 years”. The Arab Group reiterated this call. In their statements, Lebanon, South Africa, Venezuela and Namibia also called for the release of Walid. Addressing Israel’s policy of medical neglect, Namibia said “we echo calls for the immediate release of Palestinian political prisoners, including Walid Daqqah, who was diagnosed with cancer and whose medical condition continues to worsen due to deliberate medical neglect by Israel.”
In the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on oPt, Sana Salameh addressed the Human Rights Council and urged states to exert pressure on Israel to release her husband and all Palestinians arbitrarily detained.
You can listen to her statement here>>> https://vimeo.com/846604246