ASIA/IRAQ - Court of Appeal accepts the appeal against the illegal expropriation of Christian lands in Iraqi Kurdistan

Saturday, 14 November 2020 middle east   oriental churches   area crisis   migrants   demography  


Dohuk (Agenzia Fides) - - The Dohuk Court of Appeal, in Iraqi Kurdistan, has reopened the judicial case related to the illegal appropriation of land and buildings belonging to Christian owners, in particular in the Nahla valley (see photo). With a ruling issued in recent days, the Court of Appeal has rejected the verdict of a court case so far conducted by a lower criminal court. According to the Court of Appeal, the case was handled negligently and inappropriately without properly examining the title of the property in dispute. The documents indicate that the land and buildings at the center of the court case belong to the families of 117 Chaldean, Syrian and Assyrian Christian farmers whose families were illegally expropriated from Kurdish landowners over the last few years.
According to local sources, the final ruling on the fate of illegally expropriated assets will soon be issued by the Dohuk Court of Appeal.
The large-scale misappropriation of land and real estate by Christian, Assyrian and Chaldean families in the Iraqi Kurdistan region, as reported by Agenzia Fides (see Fides, 14/4/2016 and 7/7/2016) has been denounced by various sides since 2016. The illegal expropriations were carried out carried out by Kurdish fellow citizens, who operated individually or in a coordinated manner with other members of their family clan. Already at that time, in the Dohuk governorate alone, there was a list of 56 villages where the area of land illegally stolen from Christian families amounted to 47,000 acres.
The subject of illegal expropriations was the land and homes of Christians who had left the area, particularly since the 1980s, in order to avoid regional conflicts and sectarian and tribal violence, which had occurred in particular after the military interventions of international alliances on Iraqi territory.
At the beginning of October (see Fides, 6/10/2020), the Bureau of the Autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan had also ordered the creation of an ad hoc Commission responsible for verifying, documenting and prosecuting the systematic illegal expropriations of land and real estate reported by Christian owners registered in recent years, especially in Dohuk Governorate. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 14/11/2020)