Palestinian rights group Addameer said Walid Daqqa’s health was deteriorating, accusing Israel of negligence.
A Palestinian prisoners’ rights group is calling on Israeli authorities to release Walid Daqqa from prison, saying his health is deteriorating.
Daqqa is a Palestinian writer and activist, imprisoned by Israel since 1986 for killing an Israeli soldier.
Last year, he was diagnosed with myelofibrosis, a rare form of bone marrow cancer that disrupts normal blood cell production.
Addameer, a rights group that supports Palestinian prisoners, said the 61-year-old was in “urgent need of medical attention”.
The group accused Israeli authorities of denying Daqqa the treatment he had been prescribed and called for his “immediate release”.
If left untreated, myelofibrosis causes extensive scarring in the bone marrow, resulting in severe anemia that can lead to weakness and fatigue.
In February, Daqqa suffered a stroke caused by a blood clot, according to the rights group.
Daqqa is one of the most important and longest serving Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. In prison, he wrote several books, including one for children.
In 1999, Daqqa married behind bars. With his wife, Sana Salameh, he welcomed a daughter – Milad – in 2020, conceived after his sperm was smuggled out of prison.
“The dream of having Milad one day has accompanied us for 20 years. We even named her before she was born,” Salameh said in 2021.
In December, a Palestinian prisoner, Nasser Abu Hmaid, died in Israeli custody despite longstanding calls to release him and allegations of Israeli medical negligence following his late diagnosis of cancer more than a year ago.
Palestinian officials and rights groups have long documented and condemned a “deliberate Israeli policy of medical negligence”.
Specialized doctors are not regularly available, with the exception of dentists, and “over-the-counter painkillers are given as a remedy for almost all health problems”, advocacy groups said in a joint report (PDF) to the United Nations.
In 2020, four Palestinian prisoners died in Israeli custody.
In November 2021, Palestinian prisoner Sami Umour, 39, died after a month of waiting an urgent operation for serious heart problems from which he was suffering.