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ASHRAF MONITOR

Volume 1, Issue 40

News about the Looming Humanitarian Crisis for Camp Ashraf Residents

Friday, October 2, 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

 

 

USCCAR Condemns Forcible Displacement of 36 Ashraf Residents, Urges President Obama to Secure Their Release
Statement by USCCAR

Friday, October 2, 2009
Washington, DC - The US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents urges President Obama to intervene immediately to save the lives and to regain the freedom of the 36 residents of Ashraf abducted in late July during a deadly attack on the Camp by Iraqi forces.

It is past time for the United States to uphold the pledges it has made to residents of Camp Ashraf and hold the Iraqi government accountable for breach of its commitments to treat Ashraf residents humanely.

On Thursday, October 1, 2009, in defiance of three court rulings and a definitive opinion from the Chief Prosecutor, Iraqi forces raided the prison in Al-Khalis to take the 36 Iranians - on hunger strike for 65 days - to an unknown location in Baghdad. There is hardly any doubt that the September 14 remarks by a U.S. embassy spokesman in Baghdad that Iraqi had the right to relocate the residents of Ashraf served as green light for this move, which is a blatant violation of international law, and a mockery of Iraq's judiciary. It confirms that the Al-Maliki’s government prefers doing Tehran's bidding to honoring its obligations to the laws and judiciary of Iraq itself.

The transfer puts the lives of the 36 in serious jeopardy. They are already in poor health after a hunger strike of 66 days, and they will be at greater risk now that they are refusing to take liquids. The Iraqi Government may be planning to repatriate them to Iran, in further violation of international norms.

USCCAR deplores the fact that neither the White House nor the Department of State has taken any position regarding these blatant breaches of international humanitarian law, the law of human rights, and Iraq’s written assurances to the United States.

In 2004, US forces signed an agreement with everyone in Ashraf including the 36 abductees, recognizing them as "protected persons" under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The agreement states that, until “viable disposition options” become available and final decisions are made, each person shall remain under US protection.

The Obama administration should take action and fulfill these promises. Under international law, the hand-over of "sovereignty" to the Iraqi Government did not end the responsibility of the United States for the protection of Ashraf residents. Article 45 of the Fourth Convention provides that if the transferee state fails to honor its obligations, the transferring party — here the United States — must “take effective measures to correct the situation, or shall request the return of the protected persons.”

The State Department's milquetoast assurances that the Iraqis will do the right thing have done little to allay the profound concerns of families of Ashraf residents, on hunger strike outside the White House for the past 66 days.

Iraq must honor its solemn and enforceable commitments to the US that Ashraf residents would be treated humanely and release the 36 hostages.
...  Read More

 

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Fate of 36 Detained Iranian Dissidents Takes another Turn

Associated Press
Thursday, October 1, 2009

BAGHDAD — … The fate of 36 detained members of an Iranian opposition group took another turn after Iraq's chief prosecutor ordered them released.

Police Maj. Ghalib al-Kharki, spokesman for police in Diyala province, said the men were taken to Baghdad late Wednesday by security forces dispatched from the capital. He refused to give other details. Iraqi government officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the case.

But the resistance group, the People's Mujahedeen of Iran, claimed many of the man are severely weakened from a hunger strike to protest their nearly three-month detention.

On Wednesday, Iraq's chief prosecutor, Ghadanfar Mahmoud, issued a blanket order for police to release the detainees, who have been held since a raid on their camp in northern Iraq in July. Iraqi judicial authorities did not pursue charges and have said the men should be freed.

The group operated for years in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, but nearly 3,500 members have been confined to a camp since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. The U.S. military turned over responsibility for Camp Ashraf to the Iraqis on Jan. 1... Read More

 

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Protect Iranian dissidents in Iraq: Council of Europe deputies

Agence France Presse

Wednesday, September 30, 2009
STRASBOURG, September 30, 2009 (AFP) - Council of Europe parliament members on Wednesday called on the United Nations and the United States to guarantee the safety of Iranian dissidents at a camp in Iraq following clashes in July.

Iraqi forces launched a deadly raid on Camp Ashraf, in Diyala province near the Iranian border, in July, killing 11 people and raising concerns about residents' safety.

Seventy-three Council of Europe parliamentarians called on US military forces in Iraq to guarantee the rights of camp residents and protect them against violence.

The parliament members from about 15 countries also called for UN observers to be stationed at the camp and for the release of those detained in the raid and still held despite a court decision saying they should be freed.

Iraqi authorities have refused to allow 36 of the Iranian dissidents seized in the July raid to return to their base despite a court ruling they must be released, an Iraqi judicial official has said.

Iraq gained sovereignty over the camp on January 1 following the expiry of a UN mandate that had given US forces responsibility for it... Read More

 

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Iranian regime: PMOI in Iraq are in our custody through an intermediary
NCRI Statement

Friday, October 2, 2009
NCRI - Hours after the bloody and violent transfer of 36 members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) to prison cells of the New Iraq’s Intelligence, a website known for its close link to mullahs’ notorious Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) reported: “Detention of the Mojahedin in Iraq has become ‘a better option than expulsion from Iraq.’ That is to say that they are indirectly, through an intermediary, in the custody of Iran.”

Echoing the regime’s fear of the Iranian Resistance’s role and influence of the PMOI on the nationwide uprising to overthrow the clerical regime and distraught by the PMOI’s obstruction to its export of terrorism and fundamentalism to Iraq in the run up to the elections in that country, the report added: “By considering all aspects of this matter, especially the fact that other countries’ refusal to accept the Mojahedin is acting as an obstacle to their expulsion, the Iraqi Government is preparing for their transfer to other camps. This move can be a major step toward containing the Mojahedin’s terrorist threats on one hand and preventing them from interfering in Iraqi internal affairs on the other."... Read More

 

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Iranian dissidents remain in jail in Iraq
The Washington Times

Wednesday, September 30, 2009
KHALES - 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 [PMOI/MEK], 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 Agence France-Presse, referring to a decision he delivered on Sunday.

The group was founded in 1965 in opposition to the shah of Iran. It has subsequently fought to oust the clerical regime that took power in the 1979 Islamic revolution, using Iraq as a base... 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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U.S. COMMITTEE FOR CAMP ASHRAF RESIDENTS

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