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    » 02/17/2011, 00.00

    IRAQ

    Kirkuk: kidnapped Christian freed after family pays ransom



    Iyad Salman Dawoud Askar, a married father of two, was kidnapped February 13. The kidnappers had demanded a sum of 50 thousand dollars for his release. In 2009, the man lost his brother, killed during a kidnapping attempt. AsiaNews sources: expectations and hope for the events in the Middle East, but fear of more violence remains.

    Kirkuk (AsiaNews) - Iyad Salman Dawoud Askar, a Catholic of Kirkuk, kidnapped on February 13 by a group of criminals was released last night by his abductors upon payment of a ransom. At the moment, there is no confirmation on the total amount paid by the family. AsiaNews sources in the host city greet the happy ending withwith "joy and satisfaction", but do not hide their fear for the future of Iraq and the Christian community.

    On 13 February, a group of armed men kidnapped Iyad Salman Dawoud Askar, a 53 year old Catholic and married father of two children (one boy and one girl). The man was taken by the criminals in front of his home, in the Dor al- Zira'a area, close to Ithifalat square, in the south-west of the city.

    At first the kidnappers asked for 50 thousand dollars ransom. Police sources confirmed the payment of a sum of money, but the amount paid for his release late yesterday afternoon, is unknown. The family of Askar in 2009 had been the victim of a kidnapping attempt. On that occasion he his brother Sabah Daud Askar was killed.

    AsiaNews sources in Kirkuk, anonymous for security reasons, express "joy and satisfaction" for his release. Recent events have led to moments of "expectation and hope" but also "fear for what happens in Egypt and other countries in the Middle East." Hope a movement for democracy will be born and, at the same time, fears of fundamentalist drift which could take over these events. "The extremists - concludes the source - may start targeting us again." (DS)

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    See also

    15/09/2009 IRAQ
    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."

    14/12/2007 IRAQ
    Arrested in Kirkuk a gang specialised in kidnapping Christian doctors
    Yesterday in Kirkuk Iraqi police captured the remaining members of the criminal organisation; 4 brothers who have all confessed: “we did it for the money”. The medical profession is among the worst hit by terrorism and criminality: leaders in the field and simple doctors emigrate or are killed, depriving Iraq of a vital resource.

    07/09/2009 IRAQ
    Mosul: more kidnappings and murders of Christians, to force them to the plain of Nineveh
    A 60 year-old businessman killed, his kidnappers had demanded an enormous ransom. Another faithful of Mosul kidnapped; the fate of the doctor who was kidnapped in Kirkuk remains shrouded in mystery, AsiaNews sources: the violence disguises a political project to drive Christians out the city and force them to the plain of Nineveh.

    26/08/2010 IRAQ
    Karakosh - Baghdeeda: a Christian originally from Mosul is kidnapped
    Louyaé Behnam was kidnapped yesterday by a group of armed men. The family has already paid a ransom of 15 thousand dollars, but the kidnappers have not yet released the man. Throughout the country attacks continue after the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

    16/01/2009 IRAQ
    Mosul, fresh anti Christian violence. Murder and torture
    36-year old Chourik Bagrad, was massacred with multiple gunshot wounds to the head. Another believer was kidnapped New Years eve: he was released on payment of a ransom of 50 thousand dollars. AsiaNews sources relay that Mosul is a “volcano about to explode”.



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