ASIA/IRAQ - Thousands of Christian homes taken by deception

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Baghdad (Agenzia Fides) - With the complicity of corrupt officials, individual impostors and organized groups of fraudsters have managed in recent years to acquire illegal possession of thousands of houses belonging to Christian families in Baghdad, who left the city to escape chaos, instability and violence that has reigned in Iraq since the last US-led military intervention.
Among the tens of thousands of Christians who escaped from the Country in recent years, many had not sold their property, keeping alive the hope of returning to Iraq in more tranquil times. But now, an eventual return would be marked by the bitter discovery that their properties have changed hands, and the new owners have succeeded in many situations to get even fake ownership documents.
The member of the city council of Baghdad Mohammed al-Rubai in a recent television interview said that almost 70 percent of Christian houses in Baghdad have been expropriated illegally, and property titles were forged with the tampering of land registers carried out thanks to the connivance of dishonest bureaucrats. The NGO "Baghdad Beituna" has calculated that the violations of Christian properties carried out with the complicity of corrupt public officials were about 7 thousand. Even members of the political and military apparatus have enjoyed the "legalized" theft of Christian properties: a report released in February by the al-Arabi al-Jadeed website, The Council of Justice, the supreme judicial body of Iraq, had accused members of the government at the time led by Nuri al-Maliki of having illegally acquired the ownership of private property, mostly belonging to Christians, with operations made possible by the legal chaos following the US-led military intervention that had overthrown the regime of Saddam Hussein. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 13/06/2015)