Chaldean Christian Hanna Saka, which ended tragically in recent days on a Turkish Airlines Photo: Asia News

Sweden denies asylum to 84-year-old Iraqi Christian. Dies on repatriation flight

The victim is the Chaldean Hanna Saka, who died while returning to Baghdad after the Swedish expulsion order. The fatal illness on board the plane, but problems had already emerged before boarding. For his brother, his condition worsened after the rejection of his asylum application. Iraqi Christians and migration, an ever-present issue.

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(ZENIT News – Asia News / Bagdad, 03.11.2024).- He had been waiting for seven years to have his asylum request accepted, in vain. The latest failure coincided with an expulsion and repatriation order and on the return flight to Baghdad, he dies.

This is the story of the 84-year-old Chaldean Christian Hanna Saka, which ended tragically in recent days on a Turkish Airlines plane forced to make an emergency landing in Warsaw, Poland, due to the death of the exile.

According to reports from Syriac Press, an information agency specializing in news on the Assyro-Chaldeans of Iraq, Israel, Lebanon and the Middle East, the managers of the immigration center in Stockholm rejected him with immediate deportation measures.

Adil Saka, brother of the deceased, spoke of Hanna’s condition worsening upon arrival at the airport, during the repatriation phase, which quickly worsened on board the plane. Despite the request for help and the urgent care provided by the flight attendants and medical staff present, the efforts were in vain and the man died. A doctor on board confirmed the death of Hanna Saka, advising the pilot to initiate procedures for an emergency landing in the Polish capital airport.

Upon landing, the Warsaw police arrived quickly and questioned his brother Adil Saka, communicating the decision to perform an autopsy to determine the exact causes that led to his death. The Polish authorities then formalized Hanna’s transfer to Iraq, through the Baghdad embassy in Poland.

Hanna Saka was struggling with heart disease and health problems in his lower limbs. His mental and physical health further deteriorated due to the stress following the rejection of his asylum application and the subsequent deportation order issued by the Swedish Migration Service.

Recently the Chaldean patriarch, card. Louis Raphael Sako returned to the topic of emigration, relaunching the danger of a progressive reduction of the Christian component in Iraq in the face of a massive exodus, to stem which the cardinal proposed a «crisis unit».

«There is no strategy, security or economic stability», there is a lack of «sovereignty» and there is a «double» application of the concepts of democracy, freedom, constitution, law and citizenship by those who should be at the service of the nation and of its inhabitants.

In this way, the institutions have been «weakened» and there has been a «decline» in morals and values, services, healthcare and education have worsened, as well as «widespread corruption» and «growing unemployment» combined with returning illiteracy. .

In this context, the Christian component, already on the margins, has become even more fragile and has been the subject of kidnappings, killings that began in 2003 with the US invasion and culminated in the years of domination of the Islamic State (ISIS), with the great escape from Mosul and the Nineveh Plain.

The emergency is confirmed by the numbers, as revealed by the patriarch himself: in the last 20 years over one million Christians (out of a total of less than 1.5 million) have fled. In the last few weeks alone, «over 100 families have left Qaraqosh and emigrated», joining «dozens of families from other cities» who have fled due to an uncertain future and months of unpaid wages.

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