Longest-serving Palestinian prisoner dies of cancer

Walid Daqqa, one of the longest-serving Palestinian prisoners in Israel, died of cancer on Sunday at the age of 63 after almost four decades of incarceration.

Daqqa’s case was unique. At the time of his death, he was the longest imprisoned Palestinian in Israel, with the second longest sentence served overall, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Society.

He was also one of the few Palestinian prisoners to have been continuously incarcerated since prior to the Oslo Accords, a series of agreements between Israel and the Palestinians in the 1990s that resulted in a number of Palestinians being released from Israeli prisons. Born in the Israeli town of Baqa al-Gharbiyye in the northern “triangle” region, Daqqa was a Palestinian citizen of Israel.

A spokesperson for Israel Prison Service on Monday confirmed Daqqa’s death and said in a statement that his death will be investigated “like any event of this nature.”

In Israel, Daqqa was seen as a terrorist after he was convicted in connection with the killing of a soldier. But to many Palestinians, he was a symbol of their struggle for liberation from Israel.

He was arrested in March, 1986 and sentenced to life in prison after an Israeli court convicted him of commanding the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) militant group, which abducted and killed 19-year-old Israeli soldier Moshe Tamam in 1984. Daqqa was not convicted of carrying out the murder but of commanding the group, which he denied, Amnesty said. Tamam’s niece Ortal said on X that her uncle was subjected to torture before being killed.

In 2012, Israel reduced his sentence to 37 years, which he completed in 2023. He was then charged by an Israeli court with smuggling mobile phones to prisoners, and was given an added sentence of two years, according to the Palestinian Commission of Detainee Affairs. He died before his scheduled release date of March 24, 2025.

The Commission and the Palestinian Prisoners Society, based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, said in a statement that during his detention, Daqqa “faced the policies of torture, assault, deprivation and isolation, in addition to successive medical crimes.”

CNN has reached out to Israel Prison Service for comment on the allegations. (CNN)

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