Walid Dakah, an Israeli Arab who was sentenced to life imprisonment for security offenses, filed a first-of-its kind petition Sunday morning with the Nazareth District Court, asking that it grant him conjugal visits in order to allow him and his wife to bring a child into the world.
Dakah was sentenced to life in prison in 1986, after he was convicted of membership in a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror cell that murdered IDF soldier Moshe Tamam in 1984.
Dakah was sent to prison at the age of 22, and the petition, which was filed on his behalf by Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Right in Israel, claimed that since then he had undergone significant changes, has left the PFLP, joined the Balad Movement and is scheduled to complete his Masters Degree studies in the coming days.
In 1999 Dakah married Sna'a Salama, a human rights activist who works primarily for the benefit of security prisoners serving time in Israeli jails. His previous requests for a conjugal visit were denied.
In the petition Adalah attorney Abir Bachar complained of discrimination against Arab prisoners. "The use of the term 'security prisoner' as an excuse to deprive (prisoners) of their legal right raises suspicions that it is being applied to Arab prisoners only," he said.
"The rights of Jewish prisoners, such as Yigal Amir, who was convicted of murdering a prime minister (Yitzhak Rabin), and Ami Popper, (who was convicted of murdering seven Palestinian construction workers in 1990), are upheld, including conjugal visits.
"These rights cannot be deprived from another prisoner only because he is an Arab," Bachar said.
"The discrimination regarding conjugal visits joins the long line of differences between imprisoned Jewish and Israeli Arab citizens."