Palestinian minister of prisoner affairs dies in car crash

Qadri Abu Baker, chairman of the PLO’s Detainees and Ex-Detainees Commission, was killed in a traffic accident near the town of Jamma’in.

Salfit
Qadri Abu Baker and two others were killed in a car accident on Route 505 north of Salfit in the northern occupied West Bank after returning from an event celebrating the children of Palestinian prisoners [File: Zena Al Tahhan/Al Jazeera]

A Palestinian Authority minister died in a car crash in the northern occupied West Bank in an incident that also killed a former Palestinian prisoner and his wife north of the governance of Salfit.

Qadri Abu Baker, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s Detainees and Ex-Detainees Commission, was killed on Saturday on Route 505 near the town of Jamma’in after returning from an event celebrating the children of Palestinian prisoners.

In a statement, PA President Mahmoud Abbas mourned Abu Baker “as a strong freedom fighter who has spent his life defending Palestine, its cause, its people”.

“Abu Bakr has stood at the forefront, defending the causes of his country and his people in all areas of national action and struggle, and in the international arena, since the early times of the [Palestinian] national movement,” Abbas said.

Mai al-Kaila, the minister of health, commended Abu Baker as a “brave freedom fighter” who dedicated his life to the issue of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.

A former Palestinian prisoner, Bassem Sawan, and his wife were also killed in the accident.

Born in the occupied West Bank village of Biddya in 1953, Abu Baker spent 17 years in prison after he was arrested by Israeli forces for transferring weapons to the West Bank. He was then exiled to Iraq, but returned and assumed the role of chairman of prisoners in 2018 until his death.

In a statement, Hamas expressed its condolences saying it “remembers the struggle of the Abu Bakr and Sawan, and their contribution to supporting the prisoners and their cause”.

Source: Al Jazeera