33 Iraqis detained in Lebanon, accused of attempting illegal migration to Europe
Lebanon has detained 33 Iraqis, mostly from the Kurdistan region, following information they allegedly planned to travel to Europe in cooperation with a smuggling network, officials in Baghdad said on Thursday.
An Iraqi foreign ministry official told The New Arab's Arabic sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, that Baghdad is communicating with Lebanon to recover the Iraqis, who are accused of trying to migrate to Europe illegally.
The official said "the number that has been reported so far is 33 Iraqis", adding that the smuggling network they were allegedly cooperating with operates in Lebanon and Syria.
"We are currently communicating with the Iraqi diplomatic mission in Lebanon to find out more details," the official added, saying some of the detainees are members of the same family.
It comes after Baghdad in early 2022 said it had repatriated thousands of Iraqis trapped between Belarus and several EU countries.
A security official told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that Lebanese authorities had agreed to hand the detainees over to Iraq in the coming days and had been detained weeks ago.
The official said the Iraqis were victims of fraud as sums amounting to over $10,000 per person were collected on the pretext of bringing them to a European country.
"They will be referred to court soon," Iraqi Kurdish TV station Rudaw quoted Muthanna Amin, an MP in Baghdad's parliament, as saying.
"When they are referred to court [in Lebanon], the decision will be taken as usual to deport them," he continued, saying there "won't be any other procedure for them".
Amin said he thought their case "could end within two weeks at the latest".