Saddam Hussein cabinet minister made refugee claim in Canada

Sandy Brown
Sandy Brown
22 Aug 2019

A former Iraqi cabinet minister and long-time member of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle made a refugee claim in Canada because Iraq said it would no longer pay for his expensive dialysis treatments, Global News has learned.

And, at first at least, he wasn’t found inadmissible to Canada.

Babakr Mahmud al-Rasul, who served as Iraq’s minister of labour and social affairs between 1977 and 1989, made the claim in June 2015 while in Ottawa, roughly one week after learning Iraq would no longer pay for his medical care. A Kurd from northern Iraq, Rasul also said he feared persecution for his political beliefs.

However, immigration officials flagged Rasul’s claim for possible inadmissibility to Canada because he was a “senior official” in the regimes of two former Iraqi dictators that Canada has said engaged in systemic human rights violations and crimes against humanity.

But a judge at Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) decided Rasul’s claim could go forward, accepting his argument that he was coerced into being a cabinet minister, which the judge ruled absolved him of any responsibility for the atrocities committed by Iraq’s government while he was in office.

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