Jail Officials Sequester Palestinian Security Prisoner Despite Health Risk

Walid Daka, suspected of smuggling cell phones into jail, has a blood disease and is not supposed to be left alone. Prison service says he gets medical supervision 'like all prisoners.'

Alex Levac

Walid Daka, a Palestinian security prisoner, was placed in a cell by himself last week at Ramon Prison in the Negev, despite the fact that the blood disease he has requires that he not be alone in case his condition suddenly deteriorates.

It is the second time that Daka, who has suffered from the disease for two years, has been separated recently from other inmates. Daka's family is concerned that such incarceration, which they said was ordered by senior Israel Prison Service officials, could endanger his life.

Five weeks ago Daka was separated from most of the other prisoners after he was accused of receiving a document from visiting Israeli Arab lawmaker Basel Ghattas (Joint List). Ghattas is accused of smuggling cell phones and documents into prison, but has said he was unaware that the contents of an envelope that he handed over to inmates contained cell phones.

After receiving the document from Ghattas, Daka was put in a cell with just one other prisoner, who was able to look after him. The cell to which he is now assigned is a distance from other cells, making it difficult for him to call for help.

The cell to which he is now assigned is a distance from other cells, making it difficult for him to call for help.

In addition, Daka's access to the prison yard has also being limited, prompting the concern that a lack of activity may put him at risk for developing a blood clot.

Daka’s brother, Asad, who is also being detained, but without a conviction, at the Ramon facility, asked to see him for a few hours but was turned down.

In response to a query from Haaretz regarding Walid Daka, the IPS spokesman’s office said: “The prisoner was involved in smuggling cell phones from prison and was therefore separated from other prisoners. The prisoner has medical supervision as do all of the prisoners.”

However, other prisoners suspected of cell-phone smuggling have not been separated from their fellow inmates. The IPS has not answered questions posed by Haaretz regarding whether Daka’s separation is for a specific period of time that was set in advance, how long a period it is and whether the IPS consulted with doctors before transferring him to a cell by himself.

Daka, who is originally from the northern Israeli town of Baka al-Garbiyeh, was convicted of membership in a cell affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which kidnapped and killed Israel Defense Forces soldier Moshe Tamam in 1984. Daka, who has denied taking part in the killing, has been in jail for over 30 years.

Following the Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993, while in prison, Daka underwent a change in his thinking regarding his activities as an Israel citizen, and announced his support for the Israeli Arab Balad party, now a faction of the Joint List. He is considered an influential figure among Palestinian prisoners and has frequently expressed criticism of Palestinian society itself.

The IPS says that of 6,188 Palestinian security prisoners in its custody, 30 are currently separated from other prisoners.