The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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Dear Dr. Jalili Thank you very much for you message. I think that the contribution of the National Association of British Arabs on this humanitarian issue is very vital to us, in Iraq, and to our friends in Britain. I am sure that Iraqi members of the association have over the last 11 years experienced various difficulties concerning the freezing of "Iraqi accounts" by the Uk government. I am sure that the majority of the British Arabs agree that the continuation of the freezing of individual bank accounts of Iraqi's for 11 years is unjustified, under any circumstances, and are inflicting a devastating financial effects on those individuals who are enduring the harshest sanctions imposed on any nation. I think that the freezing of accounts are counter productive and effects innocent individuals and not the government. It was brought to my attention that for 11 years Iraq was out of the banking community. No one could transfer money, for any reason, from the UK to Iraq, simply UK banks do not deal with "Iraq". As such Iraqis living in the UK would depend on friends traveling to Iraq to send help or assistance to their family members, or else depend few office, money changers, who will transfer the money out side the normal banking system "koala banks". With the west paranoid by terrorism , law enforcement agencies are looking into their operations. The result is that now Iraqi people in the UK are afraid to send money to their families. This will effect thousands of Iraq's who depend on family members abroad for help. The poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer!! Best regards Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar Baghdad, Iraq email@example.com. PS: I received a message from Suzi ?? From casi. Regrettable her message was deleted by accident. In reply to her message I say: The first paragraph of my original posting gave background information of what took place 11 years ago. The rest of the posting dealt basically with "non resident account". The question is NOT HOW my brother paid the expenses BUT more importantly WHY my father could not withdraw money from his account to pay for his expenses when visiting London. I hope Dr. Jalili would tell us the current practice on the "resident account" -----Original Message----- From: National Association of British Arabs [mailto:naba@BritishArabs.com] Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2001 2:24 AM To: Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Frozen bank accounts. The National Association of British Arabs is happy to write on this humanitarian issue. Please let us know if you wish us to do so. Dr Ismail Jalili National Secretary In message <DKEMLIDMHKOADGJMGJGBEECGCAAA.email@example.com>, Ghazwan Al- Mukhtar <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes >Hi >When the UK government froze the accounts of Iraqi's in 1990 the UK >banks went through their computers and froze every account that had" >Iraqi" entered into the nationality field of the record. This rule >applied irrespective whether the account holder was a resident of the >UK or Iraq or any place else in the world. A friend was in London at >that time. The British council sponsored his trip to the UK and he was >getting a monthly payment from the British government. His account was >frozen like the rest of the "Iraqi" accounts but he kept getting checks >from the British government!! I am told that even the Iraqi embassy >accounts where frozen which created a very big problem since the >embassy used to pay for the thousands of Iraqi scholarship students >studying at British universities. You can imagine the plight of those >thousands of students whose accounts were frozen and their embassy >cannot send them money or pay their bills. That was 11 years ago. Below >are some examples of the current application of the regulations: > >1- An Iraqi insurance company has a property (and a bank account) in >London bought years ago. The company cannot have an office in London so >the appointed a lawyer to look after their affairs. The lawyer >appointed a state agent to rent the property. The agent deducts his >charges from the rent and deposit the rest in the bank account (the >account is NOT frozen in this >instance) but when the British lawyer wants his fee he cannot withdraw >from account because it is Frozen!! > >2- An Iraqi friend used to work FAO (the UN) for twenty years outside >Iraq. He has an account with a bank in London. His last deposit was >after August 1990 from his UN post in Yemen. Several years ago he >decided to come back to Iraq. He thought that he could spend the money >to buy a nice house and enjoy his retirement. After singing contract >for the purchase of the house and nice furniture he dashed to Amman to >withdraw "some" of his money in London. His bankers informed him that >his accounts are frozen and cannot get a single penny. He pleaded with >them that his money originated from the UN and from outside Iraq but >they refused. My friend gave up smoking because he could not afford too >many vices at one time with no income! > >3- Last year I was approached by retired University professor some 65 >years old. He has an account at a British bank and a house in the UK. >He was not permitted to withdraw from his account to meet his expenses >and to add insult to injury he was not given a visa to go to the UK to >sell his house. He told me all that he wanted was to settle his >financial affairs before he dies! > >4- Some one has an account with Midland bank, Park lane branch in >London he tried desperately to get some money from his (frozen) account >but he could not. He approached the Arab bank in Jordan for help. They >advised him that if he open's another frozen account with their branch >in London (less than 100 meters away from the midland branch) they, the >Arab bank in Jordan, might conceder giving him a lone and use his >frozen account as a collateral. He did all that BUT the UK central bank >refused to transfer the money from ONE frozen account to ANOTHER frozen >account both in London. The man was left broke despite the fact that he >has money (frozen in the UK) that he is prevented from accessing it for >NO reason except his nationality. > >5- Many people, who have money abroad, seek medical help abroad. >Naturally their medical condition is so bad that they tolerate the >tortures trip and the expenses to Jordan. Doctors face big problems >they need the money upfront before treating the patient fearing that >the patient might not live!. The banks will not pay the money in >advance of the operation. The argument, which comes first the chicken >or the egg, goes on for some time. Many Patients have died before that >argument was settled. I am sure that their death is attributed to the >sanctions > > >6- I am told by my British lawyer that there is no way for me to get my >hand on, even a small part, of my money frozen in the UK. Eleven years >ago my "kids" were kid. I used to please them buying them a toy or a >chockalott bar. The "kids" are now attending medical school and soon >they will graduate as doctors and they will get $3 a month!!. Now what >please them is a car, a P3 computer, a fancy dress, lots of makeup, and >all the expensive things. Dad you have the money why not spend it they >say. I keep reminding them that for the last 11 years I have been >borrowing money because I cannot get to my money. I keep reminding them >that our financial difficulty is due mainly to the unjustifiable >freezing of our accounts. > > >7- Two years ago my father (79 years old) visited the UK. He applied >to the bank to withdraw about 1000 pound out of his account to cover >his expenses. He left the UK a month later without getting the >permission. Luckily my brother in London paid for his expenses. > >8- Some tried to have legal residency in another country or even a >second nationality in an attempt to unfreeze their accounts. I am told >they very few had success with this. As a matter of facts most Iraqi's >living in the UK now have to various degree a limitation on the amount >of that they can take out of their account. > >9-Thousands and thousands of Iraqi's used to travel regularly to the UK >to study or vacations or business. They would open a bank account when >they first arrive and will not bother to close the account when they >leave because they will come back again and put more money in the >account. These accounts belong to Doctors, Engineers, Teachers, … >highly educated people as well as businessmen, even housewives. The >freezing of these civilian accounts constituted a violation of our >human rights. Considering the harsh realty of the economic situation >of Iraq after ten years of sanctions, the continuation of the "freezing >for 11 years and counting" is defiantly a crime that cannot be morally >or legally justified. > >I am sure the each and every one of us affected by the freezing of our >personal accounts will include this action in his list of "Why we hate >the west". BBC and VOA may tell us that the rest of the world hate the >west because of "our democracy and human values" and that such actions >are not intended to hurt the innocent civilian population of Iraq. Bull >shit THEY simply don't know what they are talking about. No wonder the >west is under attack and is losing credibility they believe their own >lies. I can see one day one of those thousands will be so frustrated >that he will revert to violence and the west will have to fight >bin-Dollars terrorist organization! > >Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar >Baghdad, Iraq >email@example.com > >-----Original Message----- >From: firstname.lastname@example.org >[mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of >farbuthnot >Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2001 1:47 PM >To: firstname.lastname@example.org >Subject: Frozen bank accounts. > > >Hi - Colin was asking about frozen bank accounts. I am out of date with >the legal aspect but know a bit about the personal in the UK. The norm >is that if someone comes from Iraq, say for medical treament, they can >draw on the account for legitimate expenses. The 'catch 22' is that >they must present the bills and take them to the bank. To have the bill >means usually that you have already made the purchase - but the money >is frozen in the bank. Even having navigated this by a loan from a >friend, say, I know of cases where banks have chastised the account >holder for expenses as being unnecessary. One formerly wealthy man was >reduced nearly to tears at having to beg for his money to pay his >bills. > >Also, throughout Iraq, prfessionals, now living in desparate >circumstances, say to one sadly`I still have (x hundreds, or sometimes >thousands ) of £'s in' such and such a bank in the UK. Money which >could mean the difference of life and death often for they and their >dependents. > >Another ongoing tragedy is that moneys seem not to be able to be >transferred. It is only by going into the bank in the uk that it can be >drawn (with receipts.) So often people borrow or sell to get to Jordan, >thinking they can go into a bank there and get a tranfer from their >bank in the UK, and then take it back to Iraq, as would be the case in >the real world. They can't. > >Can this be legal? It also, it would seem sets a precedence as is >happening now re Afghanistan with people and organisations simply >finding their moneys frozen without even a court order. > >Another often forgotten aspect is the huge amount of Iraqi students and >post graduate students who were here at the outbreak of the ``Gulf war, >whose fees and expenses, lodgings etc were paid by the Iraqi >government. They were literally stranded with all moneys cut off, >unable to stay or go. And by the way, the reason an Iraqi vosa has to >be paid for in cash in that even the Embassy is not allowed a bank >account. An Embassy, without a bank account??? Even in the second world >war German official bodies were allowed accounts in the UK. > >But the bottom line is yet again, this is targetting the powerless. >Colin, I too have tried to talk to the Bank of England re this, over >and over - it's like swimming in treacle. > >Best, felicity a. > > > > >-- >----------------------------------------------------------------------- >This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq >For removal from list, email email@example.com >CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings. > -- The National Association of British Arabs ADDRESS: NABA, PO Box 77, Stamford PE9 2WQ. Tel/Fax: 01780 765 655 EMAIL: naaba@BritishArabs.com / firstname.lastname@example.org NABA is an independant British organisation which stems from a need to address the interests of the sizeable British Arab community whose presence has gone largely unreported. Britain recognises and encourages the active participation of ethnic groups in the democratic process. NABA is essential for our future generations to ensure their effectiveness in Britain. KEY OBJECTIVES 1-Encourage Positive Arab Contribution o Encourage a positive collective contribution to all aspects of British life within the democratic framework of multiethnic Britain. o Promote and support the integration of Arabs without surrendering the positive aspects of our unique Arab identity. o Build bridges with the indigenous population and other ethnic groups to promote a greater sense of shared purpose for furthering multiethnic co- operation within Britain. 2· Representation for Arabs o Provide better collective communications with local and central government and NGOs. o Address the difficulties faced by Arabs within Britain in matters such as unemployment, racial discrimination, etc. both independently and in collaboration with other ethnic groups. 3· Media and Public Relations o Promote positive media awareness of Arabs, their views and their contribution to British life. o Establish dialogue with both indigenous and other ethnic groups for improved understanding and harmony. o Encourage investment in all Arab related media, such as a national Arab newspaper in English o Make available comprehensive information services. 4· Promotion of Arab Heritage in the West o Promote awareness of Arab heritage and culture in Britain. o Ensure cultural exchanges within Britain for better cross-cultural understanding. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.