ASIA/IRAQ - Iraqi Ministry of Justice: Christian property will be protected

Baghdad - The Iraqi government will adopt measures to protect the real estate property of Christians who have left the Country, and to prevent that their homes and their land illegally change owner during their absence. The new rules was announced by Iraqi Ministry of Justice, Haidar al-Zamili, with a statement in which some details on the measures being take into consideration are provided. In particular - says the statement sent to Agenzia Fides - tighter control on the trades and the transfer of ownership of properties belonging to Christians, to deter fraud and possible unauthorized expropriation will set up. In the event of sale, the negotiations will be carried out by the owner of the property or by a delegate belonging to his/her family. Transaction procedures of the property must in any case be certified with certificates issued directly by the seller and the buyer.
In recent years, especially in Baghdad and in Kirkuk, many land and houses belonging to Christians who emigrated abroad were illegally taken away from the rightful owners through the production of false documents. The phenomenon managed to take hold thanks to collusion and coverings of corrupt and dishonest officials, who put themselves at the service of individual imposters and organized groups of fraudsters.
"Legalized" theft of the properties of Christian families is a side effect of the mass exodus of Iraqi Christians, following the US-led military intervention to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein.
Fraudsters take possession of homes and property which remain empty, counting on the easy prediction that none of the owners will come back to reclaim the property. On 13 July, Patriarch Louis Raphael I had made a public appeal to political authorities and institutions of the Country, demanding the government greater protection against gangs who confiscate goods and property.