Political activists, families of prisoners and former prisoners have reacted angrily to the dismissal of Prisoner Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqe, who was replaced by fellow former prisoner Qadri Abu Bakr. In addition, the entire Prisoner’s Affairs Committee, which is headed by the minister, was also replaced. President Mahmoud Abbas ordered the changes in a presidential decree signed Aug. 2.
The reaction to Qaraqe's replacement ranged from assumptions that Abbas was pushing aside a minister he disliked to the change being a regular rotation at a ministry. The Prisoner’s Affairs Committee sets policies dealing with prisoners' issues and the concerns of their families.