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Volume 1, Issue 39

News about the Looming Humanitarian Crisis for Camp Ashraf Residents

Tuesday, September 29, 2009



"Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs.”

Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention


“In no circumstances shall a protected person be transferred to a country where he or she may have reason to fear persecution for his or her political opinions or religious beliefs.”

Article 45 of the Fourth Geneva Convention



Iranian dissidents held in prison despite Iraqi court ruling
Agence France Presse
Tuesday, September 29, 2009

KHALES, September 29, 2009 (AFP) - Iraqi authorities have refused to allow 36 Iranian dissidents seized in a July raid to return to their base despite a court ruling they must be released, a judicial official said on Tuesday.

The members of the People's Mujahedeen, an exiled opposition group, were arrested by Iraqi police during a raid on Camp Ashraf, in Diyala province north of Baghdad, which left 11 camp residents dead.

"I released them; I said that they should go back to Camp Ashraf," Judge Ali al-Timimi told AFP, referring to a decision he delivered on Sunday.

A judicial official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Iraqi authorities had refused to release the group because they considered them having illegally infiltrated Iraq.

"It ... became clear that the allegations were unfounded from the start and were meant for covering up the crimes against humanity that took place in Ashraf," People's Mujahedeen spokesman Shahriar Kia said in an e-mailed statement.

Earlier this month, US Ambassador Christopher Hill vowed to press the Iraqi government, which the Mujahedeen say answers to Tehran, to live up to assurances to treat the residents humanely and make sure they are not repatriated to Iran...  Read More


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Iraq: Amnesty International urges the immediate release of 36 Iranian detainees

Public Statement
29 September 2009

A group of 36 Camp Ashraf residents continue to be held at a police station in the town of al-Khalis, in Diyala province, north of Baghdad, since they were arrested by Iraqi security forces on 28-29 July 2009. The 36 men are in poor health and continue to maintain a hunger strike.

According to latest information and after referral to a criminal court in Diyala province, north of Baghdad, on 16 September the investigative judge in the town of al-Khalis confirmed his previous ruling of 24 August 2009 ordering the release of the 36 men on the grounds that they had no charges to answer. A second charge of illegal residency in Iraq was said to have been dismissed by the investigative judge. The public prosecutor, who had appealed the investigative judge’s first ruling, is said to have had no objection to their release without charge. However, despite the judge’s ruling and the men lawyers’ pleas, the local police at al-Khalis continue to refuse to release the detainees yet have provided no reasons or legal justification for their continuing detention.

Amnesty International now urges the Iraqi authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the 36 Camp Ashraf residents. The organization calls on the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, to personally intervene and order an investigation into the failure of the police at al-Khalis to release the 36 men. Amnesty International reiterates its opposition to any forcible return of Iranians, including the 36 detainees or other Camp Ashraf residents, to Iran in circumstances where they would be at risk of serious human rights violations, including torture and execution... Read More


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Lawyers, Human Rights Experts Urge President Obama to Save the 36 Abducted Residents of Ashraf
Statement by U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents

Monday, September 28, 2009
WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a press conference today, international law and human rights experts urged President Obama to intervene immediately to save the lives of 36 Ashraf residents taken hostage by the Iraqi forces and end the humanitarian crisis in Camp Ashraf in Iraq.

The panelists expressed outrage that despite the third ruling by an Iraqi Court to have the 36 individuals released, the Iraqi government has refused to abide by the verdict of its own judiciary.

Steven Schneebaum, U.S. Counsel for the families of Camp Ashraf, said in his remarks, "Principles of humanitarian and human rights law make it clear that no state is allowed to hold individuals without charge when the person has not committed a crime. Under international law it is obligatory that they be released. The Iraqi Government is clearly violating international law and President Obama must make it clear to the Iraqis that they should obey the same set of legal principles that every other civilized country across globe is required to obey."

Bruce McColm, President of Institute for Democratic Strategies and former Executive Director of Freedom House, added, "The fact that the Iraqi government has refused to implement the judgment of its own judiciary demonstrates that it is doing Tehran's bidding. Let there be no doubt that the responsibility for the safety and well being of these hostages and those on hunger strike around the world rests squarely with the Iraqi Prime Minister."

Hamid Goudarzi, a senior engineering researcher from San Antonio, Texas, on a hunger strike for 62 days outside the White House, emphasized, "The State Department claims Iraq was exercising its sovereignty when it attacked Camp Ashraf. What kind of sovereignty is this? The court has ruled three times to release the 36 hostages, but the Prime Minister has intervened to prevent that. I have been sitting in front of the White House for past 62 days and the administration has done nothing. We will stand here as long as it takes."

The 36 hostages were abducted during the July 28-29 deadly assault on Camp Ashraf by 2,200 Iraqi security forces, in which 11 residents were killed and nearly 500 were wounded. Ashraf is home to 3,400 members of Iran's main opposition the People's Mojahedin Organization (PMOI/MEK) and their families... Read More


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Church rallies to hunger strikers
BBC News Service
September 25, 2009

Church of England clergy are to ask the United Nations to help secure the safety of dissident Iranians living in an Iraqi refugee camp. Residents at Camp Ashraf say that a recent raid by Iraqi security forces left several people dead.

In response, protesters have been on hunger strike outside the United States embassy in London for several weeks.  At a meeting on Thursday, several Anglican priests joined the protesters to voice their support.

Relatives and friends of people living in Camp Ashraf have been demonstrating outside the US Embassy for 60 days.  Several of them are on hunger strike, and some have needed hospital treatment.

More than 3,000 members of the exiled Iranian opposition group, the People's Mujahadeen of Iran (PMOI), live in Camp Ashraf, which was under the control of US forces until earlier this year.  US forces then handed over control of the camp to the Iraqi government, which wants to close it.

Last week the Archbishop of Canterbury issued a statement supporting moves to lobby the US to act to help the residents.  Dr Rowan Williams said he was also in contact with the British government, but urged the hunger strikers to end their protest.

Church of England clergy joined the group outside the US Embassy on Thursday to call for American forces to take back control of Camp Ashraf.  They say the US has a legal obligation to guarantee the safety of the camp's inhabitants... Read More


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7,000 rally against Ahmadinejad in New York
Association of Iranian Americans in New York

Thursday, September 24, 2009
NEW YORK, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 7,000 Iranians staged a rally outside the United Nations in New York on Wednesday, to protest against the presence of the Iranian regime's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at the United Nations. The participants declared their support for recent uprisings in Iran and the residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq, home to members of Iran's main opposition.

The protesters said Ahmadinejad and the regime lacked any legitimacy in the eyes of the Iranian people, who through their uprisings during the past three months showed that they want the mullahs out…

The Iranians emphasized that the U.S. must guarantee the rights of the Ashraf residents in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law in order to prevent violence against them and their forcible displacement. They also called on the U.S. to take immediate measures to secure the release of the 36 residents abducted by the Iraqi agents of the Iranian regime.

They called on the UN to make necessary arrangements for deployment of a UN supervised monitoring team in Ashraf and to ensure that the fundamental rights, safety and security of the residents of Ashraf are protected.

Several members of Congress, including Carolyn Meloney (D-NY), Ted Poe (R-TX), and Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) send messages of support for the rally's objectives... Read More


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About Humanitarian Crisis for Iranian Dissidents and their Families in Camp Ashraf

More than 3,400 members of Iran’s main opposition, the People’s Mojahedin (PMOI/MEK) and their families, among them nearly 1,000 Muslim women, reside in Camp Ashraf in Iraq.  The PMOI was the source of ground breaking revelation in the United States in 2002 about Iran’s two until-then secret nuclear sites at Natanz and Arak.


On July 28-29, 2009, Iraqi forces ordered directly by Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki acting at the behest of Iran rulers, carried out a violent, unprovoked raid on Camp Ashraf, killing 11 residents, wounding 500, and abducting 36.


The brutal raid on Ashraf was a blatant violation of the solemn commitment Iraq had given to the United States that it would provide "humane treatment of the Camp Ashraf residents in accordance with Iraq’s Constitution, laws, and international obligations."

The assault took place while U.S. service members on the scene were observing the situation closely. Regrettably they took no action to prevent the premeditated violence despite direct appeals by Ashraf residents at the outset and during the attack.


International Humanitarian Law Obligate U.S. to Provide Continued Protection for Camp Ashraf Residents in Iraq
On July 2, 2004, the  United States formally recognized members of the PMOI in Camp Ashraf as “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention. 


Both the U.S. and Iraq are parties to all four 1949 Geneva Conventions.

Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention specifies that:

“Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs […]”.

Article 45 of the Fourth Geneva Convention specifies that:

“In no circumstances shall a protected person be transferred to a country where he or she may have reason to fear persecution for his or her political opinions or religious beliefs.“


United States had legal and moral obligations and responsibilities under international humanitarian law to protect these Iranian exiles.


About the U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents:

The U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR) was established in December of 2003 by families and relatives of residents of Camp Ashraf. The purpose of the Committee is to ensure the safety and security of those Iranians and others living in Camp Ashraf. The Committee will defend the proposition that the protections of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as of other treaties and customary international law, must be applied to the Iranians in Iraq. For more information please visit: www.usccar.org


About Ashraf Monitor

Ashraf Monitor newsletter is a compilation of  news and commentaries about the developing humanitarian crisis for nearly 3,500 members of Iran's main opposition, the People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in Camp Ashraf, Iraq.  Ashraf Monitor is compiled and distributed by the US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR).


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