Neurosurgeon Wahbe granted Latvian citizenship

On Thursday, April 22, Saeima decided on granting citizenship to neurosurgeon Basel Jakub Wahbe.

Wahbe has lived in Latvia since 1999, when he started studies at the University of Latvia's Faculty of Medicine. He has obtained a doctorate degree and a specialist's qualification in neurosurgery. Until 2020, Wahbe worked as a neurosurgeon at Pauls Stradiņš Clinical University Hospital and is currently the head of neurosurgery for the Children's Neurology and Neurosurgery Clinic at the Children's Clinical University Hospital, also specialized in epilepsy treatment.

As the Saeima Citizenship, Migration and Social Cohesion Commission notes in the draft law, the hospital describes Wahbe as a distinguished professional, understanding and supportive colleague, a fair professional enthusiast who, with his personal qualities, also inspires young residents to study neurosurgery. The excellence of the Wahbe's activities is also confirmed by the unique operations carried out under his or her leadership in the field of child neurosurgery, which are recognized as one of the most complex neurosurgery in the Baltic and the world.

Wahbe commenced the procedures for obtaining citizenship of Latvia in 2017, and has passed the examinations specified in the Citizenship Law. To complete the naturalization process, Wahbe must renounce the citizenship of Lebanon. This can only be done by personally visiting Lebanon or its foreign embassies, which is currently burdensome due to the restrictions of Covid-19. The doctor's long-term absence is not desirable to ensure the continued availability of neurosurgery services, explain the authors of the draft law.

“When assessing the individual situation of Basel Jakub Wahbe and taking into account his substantial contribution to the development of child neurology and neurosurgery, the commission decided to prepare a draft law regarding his admission to Latvian citizenship. We believe that the granting of citizenship to Basel Jakub Wahbe is in line with both the objectives of the Citizenship Law and the interests of the State and the society of Latvia,” said Andrejs Judins, president of the Citizenship Commission, noting that Members at the same time urge the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs to let Wahbe keep the citizenship of the Republic of Lebanon as well.

The law will enter into force on the day following its announcement.

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