October 22, 2017

Iraq continues illegally holding Iranian refugee for 19 days in violation of MoU signed with UN

Mr. Safar Zakery ha been held for 19 day on pretense of a suspicious accident

The investigative judge has used an excuse to extend his detention and has paved way for regime’s embassy to get involved in this file; a conspiracy against PMOI (MEK) members in Camp Liberty advanced by religious fascism ruling Iran through Faleh Fayad and his elements

NCRI – Today, Friday, April 3, is the nineteenth day that Mr. Safar Zakery, a Camp Liberty resident, has been taken hostage on pretense of a suspicious accident. On Thursday, April 2, the investigative judge of the case Nasser Moussavi used absurd excuses to extend his detention. All evidence are indicative of a conspiracy against Camp Liberty residents that the clerical fascism ruling Iran is advancing through Iraq’s National Security Advisor Faleh Fayad and his elements in Camp Liberty such as Sadeq Mohammed Kadhim and Ahmed Khozair:

1. On March 16, Mr. Zakery, driver of a Camp Liberty black water tanker, was on his way back to the camp after emptying his tanker. While accompanied by an Iraqi policeman inside his vehicle, he was hit by a HUMVEE belonging to the Iraqi SWAT forces in a car accident. The HUMVEE was moving at an illegal speed of 60 km/hr when, in a turn, it deviated to the left of the road and hit head on Mr. Zakery’s tanker that was moving on the extreme right side of the road at 20 km/hr, badly damaging it. The traffic police that had come to investigate the scene of accident declared that the HUMVEE was the guilty party. The policeman inside the vehicle from Camp Liberty, as well as the policeman in the next tanker that was moving a short distance behind Mr. Zakery’s vehicle who had also witnessed the accident, both emphasized that the SWAT HUMVEE was to blame.

2. Instead of paying for the damages to the tanker of Camp Liberty, the Iraqi officers unlawfully apprehended Mr. Safar Zakery. At the outset, an officer of the SWAT force demanded 3 million dinars for the damages to the Iraqi HUMVEE in order to close the case, but this blatant blackmailing was turned down by the PMOI/MEK. In the pursuing days, all day-to-day pledges by Iraqi authorities to Camp Liberty residents, the UN officials, and the U.S. officials to release Mr. Zakery proved empty.

3. In a suspicious measure by the investigative judge, despite the fact that he has in possession the ID card of Mr. Zakery and his official “Protected Person” card, as well as his Iranian driving license, he has referred the issue in a written directive to the mullahs’ regime embassy in Baghdad for it to specify the identity and background of this PMOI member. This illegal act paves the way for the criminals of the Qods Force to get involved in this file and betrays the scripted scenario for hostage taking through a suspicious accident.

4. This request has been made despite the fact that on 23 March 2015 UNHCR officially handed a letter to the court in Karkh, Baghdad that stipulated: “The Iranian national Mr. Safar Zakery is a Person of concern to UNHCR”.

5. On March 30, the investigative judge took two completely healthy soldiers to the court as injured passengers of the HUMVEE and took their affidavits as complainants. Meanwhile, the driver of the HUMVEE that was guilty for the accident has not spent a single day in prison. Until that time, the excuse of the judge for not releasing Mr. Zakery was that the statements of these two soldiers have not been registered, but Mr. Zakery was not released even after the statements of these two soldiers were registered.

6. On March 31, in a meeting with Mr. Zakery’s lawyers, the judge accepted their argument that Mr. Zakery should be released and affirmed that all documents are complete. He only demanded for the UNHCR representative to go see him in person and explain to him the legal status of the residents. Moreover, one of the lawyers presented all necessary assurances as bondsman to the judge to gain the release of Mr. Zakery.

7. At the request of the judge, on Wednesday, April 1, two UNHCR representatives went to the court and explained that Mr. Zakery resides in Camp Liberty as the other resident of the camp and is under the supervision of UNHCR.

8. However, on Thursday, April 2, the investigative judge reneged on his prior pledge and employed a fresh excuse that an Iraqi institution needs to confirm the legal status of Mr. Zakery and extended his detention by unjustifiably referring to article 24 which deals with illegal entry of foreigners, thus paving the way for a long detention, expulsion and extradition. Therefore, Camp Liberty residents are facing a specific case of hostage taking and blatant breach of international laws.

9. Mr. Safar Zakery, 60, is being kept in detention while after waiting for three years and suffering from the restrictions imposed by the medical blockade he is scheduled to have an important surgery on April 5, 2015 at the hospital that he has been waiting for in the past three years.

10. In the past 19 days, none of the referrals and protests by lawyers and representatives of Camp Liberty or the daily correspondences with representatives of the United Nations and the U.S. Embassy, as well as the measures taken by the UNHCR, have proven effective. If indeed the issue was simply a car accident, there would have been no need for detention and taking hostage a PMOI (MEK) member, especially an accident with no serious injury that the other party was guilty for.

The International Committee of Jurists in Defense of Ashraf (ICJDA) wrote in its separate letters to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and to the Prime Minister, Speaker of Parliament, Head of the High Judicial Council, and the National Security Advisor of Iraq: “All evidence point to the fact that Mr. Zakery’s unlawful detention is on political grounds. It appears that some people in the Iraqi government are planning to even prolong this detention by raising doubts about the legal status of Mr. Zakery’s residence. This is while, like the other residents of Camp Liberty, Mr. Zakery has legally entered Iraq and his residence in Iraq has been lawful all the time. In 2004, he was given an ID card by the U.S. government and the Multi-National Forces as a “Protected Person” under the Fourth Geneva Convention. In 2011, along with other residents of Ashraf, he was recognized as an asylum-seeker by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and is protected by international law. And on 25 December 2011, Government of Iraq signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations and assumed responsibility for protection of Mr. Zakery and other residents until their transfer to a third country. In 2009, when Maliki’s government took 36 Ashraf residents hostage, the Iraqi judges issued a verdict that the entry and residence of Ashraf residents is lawful.”

The Iranian Resistance reiterates that the illegal detention of Mr. Zakery is a flagrant violation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of 25 December 2011 signed between the Government of Iraq and the United Nations, as well as a breach of international refugee law, and calls on the U.S. government, UNAMI, and the UNHCR that have time and again committed themselves to the wellbeing and security of the residents to take immediate measures to end this hostage taking and secure the immediate release of Mr. Zakery.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
April 3, 2015