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Prominent Palestinian prisoner dies after 40 years in Israeli prisons

Madrid. The Commission for Detainee Affairs of the Palestinian Authority denounced this Sunday the death of the prominent Palestinian prisoner Walid Daqqa, 62 years old, who had been detained in Israeli prisons for 38 years, as a result of “medical crimes” during the treatment of the cancer he suffered.

“We mourn a national leader and a solid thinker who spent his life for the Palestinian cause and who has left a special national and intellectual legacy. He faced policies of torture, abuse, deprivation and isolation, in addition to successive medical crimes until today his death has been announced,” reads a statement from the Commission published on its Telegram channel.

In addition to being one of the most prominent prisoners of the Palestinian struggle, he was also one of the oldest, whose detention dates back to March 1986, a date even before the signing of the Oslo Accords.

Although his release date was scheduled for March 25, 2023, the Israeli Justice added another two years to his sentence despite suffering from leukemia.

The prison authorities allowed him to be treated in a hospital “under strict security conditions” and without being able to receive visitors or communicate with his relatives since the attacks by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) on October 7.

Since April 2023, and despite his delicate state of health, he has been transferred from prison several times. In fact, in less than two months his right lung was removed, which caused “asphyxiation and a very serious respiratory infection.” He also underwent a catheterization after suffering heart failure.

A life dedicated to the Palestinian cause

Daqqa joined the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in 1983 in his early 20s, being arrested just three years later, after which he was sentenced to life imprisonment, a sentence that was later reduced to 37 years. However, in 2018 he was given another two years for being involved in a network that introduced mobile phones into prisons to allow Palestinian prisoners to communicate with their families. His release was scheduled for March 2025.

During his stay in prison, he was denied on numerous occasions the removal of his classification as a “high-risk escaped prisoner”, denying him the right “to marry, have children and say goodbye to his relatives.”

However, the authorities allowed him to marry activist Sana Salama in Ashkelon prison in 1999, with whom he had a daughter through assisted reproduction when he managed to clandestinely remove his sperm from the center.

Daqqa managed to lead the Palestinian prisoners’ movement from prison and continue contributing to the Palestinian cause by writing theoretical works, biographical texts, poems, songs and even drawings.

His death has made him the 251st Palestinian prisoner to die in Israeli prisons since 1967. Both the PFLP and the Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements mourned his death.

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– 2024-04-13 19:23:07

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