Kirkuk (AsiaNews) – An Iraqi Christian man was abducted, tortured and then beheaded. The victim was from Kirkuk, northern Iraq. Police found his body this morning. He had been kidnapped three days ago and the family had received a ransom request. However, negotiations for his release did not work out and so he was brutally murdered. For the archbishop of Kirkuk, his death is an “inhuman act” because it goes “against every human and religious principle”. Iraqi Christians have been living in a state of high tension since the killing of Osama Bin Laden, fearing possible revenge by local Muslim extremists.
Ashur Yacob Issa was 29 years old and had three children, a source in Kirkuk told AsiaNews. He was abducted three days ago for ransom. His kidnappers wanted US$ 100,000 to release him. However, negotiations with his family “did not work out”, a local Christian said.
The incident came to a terrible end this morning, when police found the young man’s body, by the side of a bridge. The body showed “horrific marks of torture”, the source said. The head had been cut off and the eyes gauged out of their socket.
The crime sent a shockwave through the city, especially in its Christian community. although the victim was kidnapped in order to get a large sum of money, the death of Osama Bin Laden by the US on 2 May has raised the tension level in the Christian community. Since then in fact, it has been living in fear of possible reprisals by Muslim extremists.
Speaking to AsiaNews, Mgr Louis Sako, archbishop of Kirkuk, condemned the murder of the young man, calling it an “inhuman act” that goes against “every human and religious principle”.
“No man who believes in God and respects life can commit such acts,” the prelate said.
Now Mgr Sako’s concern is for the widow and her fatherless children.
However, in a warning to the perpetrators of this act, the archbishop said, “Let them think about those who are left without a father and a husband. Even if human justice is not done, divine justice shall, sooner or later”.
Lastly, the archbishop of Kirkuk called on police and security forces officials, both local and national, to undertake joint action “so that all people of good will can work together to protect defenceless citizens.” (DS)