Two “dodger facilitators” take 700,000 of Ezidi IDPs for visa service

Sharia compound for Ezidi IDPs in Duhok. Photo by Ammar Aziz.

Ammar Aziz, Duhok

Two persons in Sharia settlement for displaced people receive USD700,000 from 12 Ezidi IDPs willing to travel to Europe. As no visa obtained, one of them was arrested and the second is missing, police of Duhok northern province told KirkukNow.

The facilitators first opened a money service office in Sharia compound, in Duhok northern province, where they live. One year later, they offered visa service to camp residents willing to travel to Europe.

They managed to collect over 700,000 American Dollars from tens of people in return to get visa or smuggle them to Germany. As residents realized the visa service was scam and no one made it to Europe, those paid money filed complaints to Duhok police.

Abdo Farman, a resident of Sharia compound, said his son was trying to take his fiancé to Germany so he went to the office in the compound. “They said they will charge USD15,000 to unite her with her husband but after eight months neither she reached Germany nor they paid me back,” Farman told KirkukNow.

Farman is one of the ten victims of the immigration scam in the displaced Ezidi community. “They told us it is very easy to take any one to Germany so me and tens of camp people believed them so I handed over all the money to their office.”

The plan did not go on perfectly. “My daughter-in-law was blocked in Azerbaijan for four months and every day they were telling a different story so I realized it is just a trick and fraud. I asked them to return her home and now she is with me.”

Farman filed a lawsuit one month ago to get his money back and awaits court ruling.

“I am asking for my right plus compensation. One of them was arrested and the second is missing

“My daughter-in-law was blocked in Azerbaijan for four months and every day they were telling a different story so I realized it is just a trick and fraud. I asked them to return her home and now she is with me.”

The Iraqi ethnic and religious minority of Ezidis descends from some of the region’s most ancient roots and face executions for a reputation as ‘devil worshippers.’

In 2014, the Islamic State (IS) group swept through the Shingal region mounting what the United Nations refer to as a ‘genocidal’ campaign against the vulnerable community.

Tens of thousands were forced to flee their hometown Shingal and its suburbs to Mount Shingal in the Iraqi north-west region, or face slaughter by the extremist group of Islamic State ISIS jihadists.  The IS militants slaughtered thousands of men and abducted an estimated six thousand women and children, either selling them into servitude or forcing them into sexual slavery. Up to day, half of them have liberated, figures by Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government KRG shows.

Thousands of young Yazidis fled to Europe seeking a safe shelter and wellbeing.


Sharia settlement for IDPs in Duhok in March 2021. Photo by Ammar Aziz. 

Local authorities have received tens of complaints against the two facilitators. Hemin Sileman, spokesperson of Duhok police, said that 12 files were received and more expected. “Approximately they have taken minimum USD700,000 from people.”

“Approximately they have taken minimum USD700,000 from people.”

They have offered money service in the begging and later said they can take people to Germany and Spain so people confidently paid them but later hopelessly went to police, the police officer said.

Migrants or their families have received only a receipt for their payments.

“One of them was arrested and confessed they wee cheating people and mounted $700,000 in this way but the second managed to escape to unknown place,” the police officer added.

The facilitators offered medical visa as well. A resident of Sharia on condition of anonymity told KirkukNow that his father was ill and they promised to take him to Germany for treatment for USD10,000. “My father was sick and I had no choice so I trusted them and paid the money. They took him to Azerbaijan but after being hopeless to reach Germany.”

They tried to get their money couple of times and finally received a car in return for their payment. “We in tun have not filed a claim.”  

Iraqi penal code imposes years of imprisonment for cases of fraud and scam.

Attorney Ayaz Sa’id said article 456 of Iraqi penal code states that acquisition of money through fraud is subject to three months up to five years in jail in addition to repayment of the plaintiff.  

KirkukNow has contacted the families of the two suspects but they rejected to comment on the case.

Residents of Sharia compound are Ezidis whom fled ISIS atrocities since 2014 and despite ousting ISIS in 2017 have not returned home for the volatile security situation and lack of basic public service and job opportunities.

“They have not only taken money but also official documents of people like passports and IDs which are still missing. We will do our best to arrest the second suspect and send them to court,” Duhok police officer concluded.

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