Israeli Parole Board Denies Release to Abused Woman Who Murdered Husband

Dalal Daoud, serving 25 years in prison for 2002 murder, had President Rivlin’s backing for parole

Demonstrators on Daoud’s behalf in front of the Ramle Magistrate’s Court, July 12, 2017.
Ilan Assayag

The Israel Prison Service parole board ruled Wednesday that Dalal Daoud, who murdered her abusive husband in 1997, will not be released but will be moved to a prison rehabilitation wing.

Another hearing in her case is scheduled for May. The parole board, however, said that if she integrates well in the rehabilitation wing and the therapists believe she can be released earlier, that hearing could be moved up.

During the parole board hearing, around a dozen women from the Ruach Nashit (“Women’s Spirit”) organization demonstrated on Daoud’s behalf in front of the Ramle Magistrate’s Court, where the hearing was taking place, carrying signs that read “Stop the violence against women,” and “Dalal should go home.” They tried to enter the room where the hearing took place but were refused entry.

The parole board decision is in line with the recommendation of the Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority, which believed she should receive more therapy in prison and did not prepare a post-prison rehabilitation program for her. The authority said Wednesday that although Daoud took full responsibility for her actions and had participated in many therapy sessions, her condition requires continued treatment in a rehabilitation wing.

Around six weeks ago President Reuven Rivlin ordered the parole board to convene on her case six months earlier than originally planned, on the assumption that she would be released. At the time Rivlin’s office issued a statement saying he had been shown material that portrayed “a harsh picture of a woman who for many years was the victim of serious and ongoing violence from her partner.” She was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2002, and while requests for presidential clemency over the years were refused, her sentence was commuted to 25 years.

MKs Michal Rozin, Zehava Galon and Tamar Zandberg, all of Meretz, who had asked Rivlin earlier this year to pardon Daoud, said the parole board decision would have been unnecessary, “If only the Prison Service and the Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority had worked to advance her rehabilitation from the moment the president decided to advance the hearing.”

The Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority said in response that a counselor had met with Daoud twice a month to “gauge her suitability for a rehabilitation program,” and that during these meetings Daoud indeed demonstrated a willingness to talk about the serious abuse she’d suffered and to take full responsibility for her actions, and that during her imprisonment she had attended numerous group therapy sessions.

Nevertheless, the authority said, “The professional opinion of the authority counselor is that her situation today requires continuing treatment in the rehabilitation wing, and at this stage she is not suited for referral to a community rehabilitation program supervised by the authority.”