Former Iraqi mob boss Lou Akrawi is staging another hunger strike from behind bars to protest the deportation of Iraqi Christians to Baghdad, per the new hardline immigration measures enacted by the White House in the last year. The barrel-chested 70-year old Akrawi, who led a Detroit-based crime family in the 1980s and early 1990s, is currently being held by immigration officials in Battle Creek, Michigan and fighting being deported back to a region where he was at the forefront of a political coup 50 years ago.

Akrawi served two decades in state prison for a 1996 manslaughter conviction. He was released in 2016, but detained by the federal authorities last spring, part of roundup of illegal immigrants with criminal rap sheets targeted for deportation, some of which with only minor scrapes with the law and who have been living in the country crime free via temporary visas for years. For the 16 months he was free, he lived quietly with his sister and reconnected with his five sons, staying clear of legal trouble.

A well-known firebrand, Akrawi is one of roughly 300 Iraqi Christians slated to be sent back to Baghdad, despite the fact that non-Muslims are being persecuted and killed in Iraq by ISIS for their religious beliefs. A federal judge will rule on the constitutionality of forcing men and women to relocate to a region where they are likely to be harmed later this year. Akrawi went on a hunger strike late last year, too. He has an immigration proceeding next week scheduled in downtown Detroit.

As a young man in the spring of 1968, Akrawi was involved in an unsuccessful coup attempted by the Iraqi Socialist Party to remove the newly-minted Baath Party administration, including a narrowly-averted assassination of Saddam Hussein. In the days after the coup failed, Akrawi fled to Turkey and then landed in Detroit. According to INS sources, he was stalked by Hussein operatives for the better part of the next three decades in an attempt to take vengeance. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Akrawi was a fervent activist in trying to persuade the United States to breakoff its relationship with Hussein and the Baathists, which it eventually did leading up to the first US-Iraq War in 1991.

“It’s not right, the whole way they are treating us, the conditions they have us waiting in (for possible death sentences if we are sent back)…..this is my only way of speaking out,” Akrawi told Gangster Report. “Somebody has to do something, somebody has to make a statement and tell the rest of the country this is wrong.”

Louis Akrawi

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