Dagmar Belakowitsch, parliament delegate to the National Council of Austria, published a press release on November 28th, 2019, stating that the Iraqi Minister of Defence had faked his Swedish citizenship and claimed social benefits under a false name. This allegation is correct.
In a press release Dagmar Belakowitch, Freedom Party delegate to the Austrian parliament, was quoted: „According to the latest media reports, the Iraqi Defence Minister faked the Swedish citizenship and social benefits under a false name as a so-called „refugee“. Hubert Erhart, press officer of the Freedom Party (FPÖ), told us that the party delegate had taken her information from an article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, published on November 26th, 2019. In fact, the Iraqi Defence Minister, Najah al-Shammari, who had only taken his office in June of this year, had arrived in Sweden under the false name Najah al-Adel in 2009 and had later taken on the Swedish citizenship on September s8th, 2015. The Swedish Migration Board confirmed this information upon request.
False additional claim
Although the claim is correct, Dagmar Belakowitsch made an additional claim in the same statement: She claimed that in the city of Vienna someone like Al Shammari would have „certainly received municipality housing and subsidies for all his children“. This claim turned out to be false and nothing more than a general suspicion against the City of Vienna. Anyone staying illegally in Vienna would not be able to obtain a communal apartment or subsidies. Furthermore, there are no official figures on people staying illegally in Vienna. „If we knew this, they wouldn’t be here illegally“, they spokeswoman said.
Still, the first part of our fact check regarding the Iraqi Defense Minister is true.