09/15/2009, 00.00
IRAQ
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Kirkuk: Christian doctor, held by kidnappers for a month, is freed

Samir Gorj, 50 year old father of two, was released upon payment "of a hefty ransom". He shows signs of torture all over his body. For his release Christians and Muslims had launched a joint appeal. Archbishop of Kirkuk: "a true witness of Christ."

Kirkuk (AsiaNews) - Samir Gorj, a 50-year-old Christian doctor in the hands of kidnappers for a month, was released in the late afternoon. This was confirmed to AsiaNews by sources in Kirkuk, who report he suffered "torture and abuse" in captivity. In fact the man, has "deep wounds all over his body, arms, hands, back, and chest”. For his release "the family paid a large ransom," even if the sum paid to the kidnappers was not specified.

Mgr. Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk, immediately went to the hospital to visit the Christian doctor, of whom he had always emphasized "a great faith, a true witness of Christ”.  

On 29 August, during a dinner organized by Msgr. Sako for the start of Ramadan, a hundred prominent Christian and Muslim (Shiite and Sunni) personalities had launched a joint appeal for his release. "Muslims and Christians - said the archbishop during the dinner, - condemn this kidnapping and all actions that are not good for the country. "

Samir Gorgias, 50-years old and married with two children, a boy and a girl, was abducted around 9 o'clock in the evening of 18 August, while walking home. During the struggle of his abduction a passerby was killed, who was also Christian. "Even in this case - the source for AsiaNews says - it was well known a person. It was a medical specialist, known and appreciated by all” for his dedication to work.  

AsiaNews sources in Iraq confirmed that the kidnappings perpetrated by local gangs, are motivated by money. The Christians – who have always been a cultural and economic reference point in the country - are kidnapped for ransom "by members of organized crime gangs for money”. (DS)

 
 
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