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  • » 06/07/2007, 00.00


    Four Christians abducted yesterday are released in Baghdad

    Chaldean clergyman, Father Hani, and one of the five boys accompanying him on a visit to a minor seminar in the capital are still being held but negotiations are underway to free them. Released prisoners are said to be in good conditions.

    Baghdad (AsiaNews) – Four of five Christian boys abducted yesterday with Chaldean priest Fr Hani Abdel Ahad were released today in good physical conditions. Sources told AsiaNews that the 33-year-old priest and the fifth boy are still in the hands of the kidnappers. All six were on their way to the minor seminar in Suleikh, in one of the capital’s north-eastern neighbourhoods.

    It appears that the kidnappers are common criminals interested in money. Immediately after they took the priest and the five boys they sent a ransom note to Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly.

    Negotiations are currently underway to get the release of the remaining two hostages but the process is complicated by the fact that Church leaders are in another city, al-Qosh, for a synod.

    For many years, Father Hani served in Lebanon and came back to Baghdad only last year.

    His abduction comes only three days after the murder of Fr Ragheed Ganni, a Chaldean parish priest, and three subdeacons in Mosul.

    A requiem mass in memory of the four martyrs of Mosul was held today in the Pontifical Irish College in Rome with the participation of Irish Cardinal Desmond Connell and Mgr Ignace Moussa Daoud, prefect of the Congregation of Eastern Churches.

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    See also

    06/06/2007 IRAQ
    Chaldean priest kidnapped in Baghdad
    Father Hani was taken on his way to the capital’s minor seminar. Five boys were abducted with him. Christians are plunged into a state of gloom.

    18/06/2007 IRAQ
    Chaldean priest abducted in Baghdad is free and in good health
    Fr Hani Abdel Ahad is released after 12 days. “He is very tired but was not mistreated,” says someone who met him. Persecution of Christians now moves to the al-Amariya and Hai al-Jamiya neighbourhoods with bombs placed in a home garden and threats of beheading.

    08/01/2008 IRAQ – SYRIA
    Iraqi priest abducted and tortured in Iraq because he was Christian
    Fr Hani Abdel Ahad, abducted in Baghdad in June of last year and held for 12 days, tells AsiaNews about his captivity, the daily violence he experienced, the psychological threats and physical torture he endured. Money is not the only motive behind the abduction of priests. “I experienced first hand the deep hatred terrorists have for Christians and suffered on my body their plans to drive them out Iraq,” he said. Still convalescing for the hardships he had to endure, he is thankful to God for his faith, only “hope for a better future.”

    22/05/2007 IRAQ
    Free, but “deeply marked” the Chaldean priest kidnapped in Baghdad
    Fr. Nawzat P. Hanna was released yesterday after three days in captivity. Currently he is in safe keeping in the capital, but he bares marks of having been beaten. Baghdad’s auxiliary bishop: “Let u spray that these episodes do not happen again and that our priest finds the courage to remain in Iraq, to serve his Church”.

    26/06/2007 IRAQ
    In Iraq Christians want to rebuild the nation together with their “Muslim brothers”
    P. Saad Hanna Sirop, one of the first Chaldean priests to have been abducted in Baghdad and ex director of the Babel College, reiterates that the persecution underway in Iraq is not exclusive to Christians, but also targets Shiites and Sunnis. The priest’s observations come in the wake of the Chaldean Churches unanimous rejection of the Nineveh Plains project. There is a need to avoid sectarian and divisive declarations, and to promote “universal action for the common good of the country, which is the patrimony of all humanity”.

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