Palestinian prisoners affairs chief killed in West Bank car crash

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas eulogizes Qadri Abu Bakr ‘as a strong freedom fighter,’ after collision in which 2 others also killed

Qadri Abu Bakr, head of the PLO's Prisoners' Affairs Commission in the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 13, 2023. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)
Qadri Abu Bakr, head of the PLO's Prisoners' Affairs Commission in the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 13, 2023. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

The head of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Prisoners Affairs’ Commission was killed Saturday in a car crash in the northern West Bank.

According to the Palestinian Authority’s official Wafa news agency, Qadri Abu Bakr crashed while driving on Route 505 near the town of Jamma’in.

Two other people, who Wafa described as a married couple, were also killed in the multi-car crash, which occurred after Abu Bakr attended an Eid al-Adha event in Ramallah for the children of Palestinian prisoners alongside PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Following Abu Bakr’s death, Abbas released a statement eulogizing him “as a strong freedom fighter who has spent his life defending Palestine, its cause, its people, and its independent national decision.”

“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 added.

Abu Bakr, 70, was a member of the PA’s ruling Fatah party and had been in the post since 2018. Born in the village of Biddya, he previously served 17 years in Israeli prison and was expelled to Iraq before returning in 1996 after the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO, which led to the PA’s establishment.

In his role as commissioner, Abu Bakr advocated for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons and defended the PA’s controversial practice of paying people imprisoned, wounded or killed by Israel, including those responsible for terror attacks.

In 2021, he told The Times of Israel that Ramallah paid around NIS 600 million ($187 million) in such stipends.

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