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Iraq Extends Mandate of Committee on Illegally Expropriated Property
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The Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al Sadr, President of the Alliance of the main forces in the current Iraqi Parliament, announced the continuation of the work of the ad hoc committee set up on his initiative in early 2021, with the task of returning property illegally expropriated in recent years from owners from Christian communities or the religious community of the Mandaeans to the rightful owners.

An expansion of the committee's activities was announced in a document signed by Muqtada al Sadr himself, which also announced the names of three new members of the body which, according to the document circulated by the Shiite leader, "returns the houses and property. Muqtada al Sadr emphasized that the extension of the committee's mandate confirms the value and importance of the initiative and was ordered to address the growing number of complaints and reports received by the body to be taken into account.

At the beginning of 2021, as reported by Fides (see Fides, 4/1/2021), Muqtada al Sadr had ordered the creation of a Committee in charge of collecting and verifying news and complaints regarding cases of illegal expropriations from Christian property owners in various regions of the country. The intention of the operation launched by the Shiite leader was to restore justice and end violations of the property rights of the "Christian brothers", including those for which members of the Shiite movement led by al Sadr were responsible.

The request to report cases of illegal expropriations suffered was also addressed to families of Christians who have left the country in recent years, with the request to send the committee the reports of fraudulent usurpations suffered.

More than 120 properties - land and houses - have been returned to Christian citizens and Mandaeans by the beginning of this year (see Fides, 24/2/2022) thanks to the campaign of the Shiite leader Muqtada al Sadr and the Sadrist movement he founded had been victims of illegal appropriation of their property by individuals or organized groups in recent years.

The properties are now to be returned to the rightful owners. The seized objects are houses, agricultural land, commercial buildings and even small factories and shops scattered in the cities of Baghdad, Mosul, Basra and Kirkuk province. The illegal expropriation of property belonging to Christian families is closely linked to the mass exodus of Iraqi Christians who have left the country since 2003 following the US-led military intervention to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime. Homes and land left unattended were expropriated unnoticed on the assumption that none of the owners would return and claim their rightful possession.

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