August 21, 2017

Iraq: Iranians in Liberty prison once again call for their return to Camp Ashraf .

NCRI – Members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in Liberty prison once again call for their return to Camp Ashraf, their 26-year-long residence. It is close to a year that Ashraf residents have been forcibly made homeless with no prospect for the transfer of 3200 people to EU member states from a prison that Martin Kobler deceptively named a Temporary Transit Location (TTL).

Up to this point, 2600 of Liberty residents have gone through identity verification process by the UNHCR and close to 1750 have been privately interviewed outside the camp; endless interviews that have continued up to 8, 12 or even 17 times for some of the residents.

Contrary to the deceptions and criminal measures by Martin Kobler to make Ashraf residents homeless, in a shocking document last week it was revealed that on 19 January 2012, the UNHCR had stressed that it could not verify the functionality of the infrastructures and adherence to the standards in Camp Liberty.

Similarly, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the Human Rights Council for the second time recently called the conditions at Camp Liberty as that of a prison. On January 2, legal lawyers of residents who had come from Washington all the way to behind the walls of the camp were not allowed to meet with their clients inside and just a number of residents’ representatives met with the lawyers outside the camp in the UNHCR building. Lawyers were not either allowed to visit Ashraf and the residents’ property.

Unlike all other countries, Government of Maliki that intends to plunder 550 million dollars of Ashraf residents’ movable and immovable property purposefully denies the legal entity of PMOI. This is a blatant lawlessness against the decree of court in Karrada, Baghdad that on 14 August 2005 explicitly recognized PMOI of having “a legal entity and financial independence”.

On December 26, following a heavy rainfall where water and sewage covered all over Camp Liberty, residents called on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to return them back to Ashraf. Subsequently, utilizing rudimentary equipment, they drained over 20 million liters of water from the camp to make it inhabitable.

Now, after a year that Liberty prison has continued to be called ludicrously a “Temporary Transit Location” and with the UNHCR refraining from recognizing Liberty as a refugee camp with acknowledged rights for its residents, there is no avenue for members of PMOI but to return to Ashraf. This is while UNHCR has another refugee camp in Iraq and on the UNHCR Web site it is stipulated that its residents have the right to ownership of land and vehicles and to revenue generating activities.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
January 12, 2013