4 December 2011

Adalah Re-Petitions District Court to Demand Conjugal Rights for Political Prisoner Walid Dakka in Order to Father a Child

(Haifa, Israel) Walid Dakka, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, classified as a "security prisoner" by Israel and his wife Sana have been struggling for over nine years for their basic human right to have a child. Their simple request has been consistently rejected by the Israel Prison Service (IPS) on the pretext that intimate meetings between Mr. Dakka and his wife may threaten state security, since Mr. Dakka is allegedly still in contact with "hostile organizations" to the State of Israel. Despite the Israeli Supreme Court's recommendation last year that the IPS review its intransigent position, it continues to deny his right to father a child. As a result on 1 December 2011, Attorney Abeer Baker re-petitioned the Nazareth District Court on behalf of Adalah and Mr. Dakka.

Adalah previously petitioned the District Court on behalf of Mr. Dakka in July 2008. The petition was rejected on alleged security grounds. Upon Mr. Dakka's appeal to the Supreme Court, the IPS committed to review his case, but has still not revised its position. During deliberations on the case, the State Attorney and the IPS were unable to bring any clear evidence that Mr. Dakka could use his meetings with his wife to undermine state security. Instead, throughout the trial they relied on classified, secret evidence that was challenged by Mr. Dakka and his lawyer.

Adalah is now demanding that the District Court force the IPS to implement the Supreme Court's directives to examine ways to allow Mr. Dakka and his wife to have a child. Attorney Baker emphasized in the petition that the denial of the prisoner's right to father children harmed his rights to dignity, to build a family, and to personal autonomy, and constitutes double punishment.

Walid Dakka was born in Israel in the Arab town of Baqa al-Gharbiya in 1961. He entered prison in 1986 under a life sentence, and is one of the longest-serving Palestinian political prisoners with Israeli citizenship. He and his wife, a human rights activist who has dedicated her life to defending the rights of Palestinian political prisoners, have been struggling for their right to have children since their marriage in 1999. In the absence of any hope of his release in the near future, and since he has been excluded from all prisoner exchange deals, having a child is the only way left for Mr. Dakka and his wife to realize their human desire to secure their legacy and their shared love. The couple therefore continues to work in the hope of bearing a child who will carry their name.

The petition filed in December 2011 (Hebrew)
The petition filed in July 2008, (Prisoners' Petition 609/08, Walid Dakka v. The Israel Prison Service) (Hebrew)