Columbia Businessman's Son Wants President Obama to Intervene

Related Story

COLUMBIA - World Harvest Owner, Shakir Hamoodi is scheduled to report to federal prison August 28. Hamoodi's son, Owais Abdul Kafi started a petition to collect signatures urging President Obama to step in.

"The President at this point is the only one who could pardon such a sentence. I think if we put all our efforts together, we could get enough people to hear exactly what the story is all about," Abdul Kafi said.

The United Nations imposed economic sanctions on Iraq in 1990, prohibiting anyone from trading with anyone inside the country.

Abdul Kafi said Hamoodi received a call in 1992, informing him that his sister lost a baby. The antibiotic medication for the baby cost $10 but the family only had $2. Hamoodi was shocked. He started sending money back home after that to help his family survive and avoid starvation.

Other Iraqis in Columbia learned Hamoodi was sending money back and asked if he could help them do the same. Hamoodi began helping other families send money to Iraq. In total, Hamoodi sent $200,000 back home.

Marvin Rogers, a former political science professor at the University of Missouri said more than half a million children under the age of five died as a consequence of the sanctions.

"Given the situation that Hamoodi faces, he like me, and everybody else I would imagine, would do anything they could to provide needed food, and medicine to keep their family alive back in the country," Rogers said.

Owais has collected more than two thousand signatures so far. You can find out more information about Hamoodi's story on