By: FA ME
Iraqi translator in coma after move to US
September 03 2009 by Rebekah Nahai
Texas settler on US visa is in coma
A young Iraqi refugee who moved to the US to escape persecution is in critical condition after being involved in car accident in Houstin, Texas.
Marwan Hamza, 22, was granted a US visa after receiving death threats for translating for US troops in Iraq. The accident Wednesday night left him in a coma due to traumatic brain injury.
Following the accident, Hamza suffered kidney failure, facial fractures, and an infection which required doctors to amputate his left arm above the below to stop the damage from spreading.
Hamza’s mother is petitioning for a US visa at the US embassy in Baghdad in order to care for her son in Texas. His parents still live in Iraq with their three younger children, aged 20, 12 and 10.
In an earlier interview, Hamza said about his family’s decision to stay behind: “Starting over is hard when you’re 40 or 50 years old.”
Hamza found work in Houston almost immediately after receiving a social security card, which allows residents to work legally and pay taxes. He worked at a restaurant until finding a better job as a security guard. Friends say his English is almost perfect.
The translator fled to Ankara, Turkey after receiving death threats in Iraq for helping the US military. Continued persecution led him to make an application for asylum in the US, and he moved to Houston with support from the US military and a major refugee organisation.
The Texas city has become a major landing spot for Iraqi refugee settlers.