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ASHRAF MONITOR

Volume 1, Issue 41

News about the Humanitarian Crisis for Camp Ashraf Residents

Tuesday, October 6, 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 Deplores Iraq's Plan for Forcible Deportation of 36 Iranian Dissidents, Demands Immediate US Intervention
Statement by USCCAR

Monday, October 5, 2009

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents deplores the decision by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to forcibly deport the 36 residents of Camp Ashraf abducted during the deadly attack on the Camp by Iraqi forces in July.

USCCAR also calls on the Obama administration to live up to its legal and moral obligations to the People of Ashraf, and to intervene to secure the immediate release of the 36 hostages.

The administration's continued silence toward the inhuman and unlawful treatment of these individuals has emboldened Mr. al-Maliki to pursue their expulsion in blatant violation of international law, Iraq's own laws and constitution, and written assurances given to the United States.

On Sunday, the Associated Press reported that an official in al-Maliki's office said "Iraq is looking for a country to accept 36 detained members of an Iranian opposition group [PMOI/MEK]." Those men remain in detention despite three judicial decrees that they be released.

Mr. al-Maliki is preparing the ground for transferring the 36 to Iran or to a Tehran-friendly country which ultimately would send them to Iran. Either would be in flagrant breach of customary and conventional international law, and the standards of international humanitarian law. If any transfer outside Iraq is indeed contemplated, it must be to an EU country or to the United States, where these hostages have family members.

In an ominous development today, the 36 were transferred to a special prison near Al-Muthana Airport which is mainly operated by al-Maliki's office and notorious for arbitrary and harsh treatment of people held there.

In March 2007, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees also warned competent Iraqi authorities and the Multi-National Force-Iraq "to refrain from any action that could endanger the life or the security of these individuals, such as their forcible deportation from Iraq or their forced displacement inside Iraq."

In a letter dated October 15, 2008, to Iraq's Minister for Foreign Affairs, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged that Government to protect Ashraf residents from forcible deportation, expulsion, or repatriation in violation of the non-refoulement principle, and to refrain from any action that would endanger their life or security.

Mr. al-Maliki is responsible for any harm done to the 36 hostages, many of whom are on the brink of death after 69 days of hunger strike and severe beatings in the hands of security forces.

The United States is also responsible for safety and human rights of these individuals. According to Article 45 of Fourth Geneva Convention this responsibly remains in effect even while Ashraf residents are in the custody of the Government of Iraq, to whom they were transferred in exchange for specific assurances given to the United States. The appalling silence and inaction of the Obama administration, which has superficially lamented about the "avoidable tragedy" in Ashraf, could prove deadly for the 36 abductees...  Read More

 

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Iranian dissidents abused in Iraq
Despite a judge's order to free 36 Iranian dissidents, Iraqi security officials forcibly transferred them to a prison in southern Iraq.
The Miami Herald
Tuesday, October 6, 2009

BAGHDAD -- Iraqi security officials beat and forcibly transferred 36 members of an Iranian dissident group to a remote southern prison despite an Iraqi judge's orders to free them, the judge and the group's leaders said Monday.

International human rights groups have called for government intervention to protect the Iraq-based camp of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, a militant group that's committed to overthrowing the neighboring Iranian government.

The Shiite Muslim-led Iraqi government, which has close ties to Tehran, instead allowed its security forces to blockade the camp and carry out a July raid that left 11 MEK members dead and three dozen in custody. MEK members in Iraq and abroad are on their 70th day of a hunger strike to draw attention to the case. The detainees were moved overnight Sunday from Baghdad to a makeshift prison in the southern province of Muthanna, according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a coalition of groups that oppose the Iranian regime. MEK leaders fear they'll face persecution and abuse.

“The specialized judge ordered their release, and the executive authorities should have carried the order out,” said Abdulsattar al Biraqdar, a spokesman for the Iraqi judiciary. “We have no knowledge what happened to them after that. Our official duty ends here, but, humanely, we are concerned.”

A senior aide to Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki refused to comment on the case, referring questions to security officials. The officials couldn't be reached Monday... Read More

 

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Iraq's Prime Minister Office Plans Deportation of Iranian Dissidents
Associated Press

Monday, October 5, 2009
BAGHDAD — ... An official in the office of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Iraq is looking for a country to accept 36 detained members of an Iranian opposition group.

The announcement was the first clear signal from the government on its plans for the men, who were arrested in a raid on their camp in northern Iraq in July and have been ordered released by Iraq's chief prosecutor. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The official said the detainees would not be sent to Iran, where they would likely face arrest, but Iraq is seeking to send them to a third country. The official gave no other details or specific timetable.

The men were moved to Baghdad last week from Diyala Province, northeast of the capital. They are members of a resistance group, the People's Mujahedeen of Iran, which claims many of the men are severely weakened from a hunger strike to protest their detention.

Iraqi judicial authorities did not pursue charges against the men after their detention.

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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London priests back Camp Ashraf call
Religious Intelligence

Friday, October 2, 2009
Following the Archbishop of Canterbury’s call to protect the people of Camp Ashraf, London priests gathered to give their supports to those protesting outside the US embassy.
The Rev Lindsay Meader, minister at St James’ Church in Piccadilly, said: “In order to implement the announcement of Archbishop of Canterbury, we are going to contact the Anglican Communion Observer at the UN Dr. Hellen Wangusa and the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion Canon Kenneth Kearon to ask Ban Ki-moon to intervene, to send monitoring teams to Camp Ashraf to ensure the protection of its residents and to save the lives of 36 detained without charge by the Iraqi police.”

 

The Rev Robert Hampson, of the Holy Trinity, South Woodford, said: “We want to see action from those who have a say internationally, namely the UN. We want a UN inspection group in Ashraf; we want the American government to take its responsibilities seriously for human life.”

The Iraqi guards of the camp containing 3,500 Iranian dissidents are accused of brutally attacking the inhabitants they were meant to protect. There are now protesters stationed outside US embassies around the world, with those in London in their tenth week of hunger strike.

Margaret Owen, a 75-year-old London human rights lawyer and director of Widows for Peace and Democracy, has now joined the hunger strikers who are facing irreversible organ failure, despite Dr Williams pleading with them not to add to the human suffering.

The Rev Joe Hawes, of All Saints in Fulham said: “People are crying out for help and the deafening silence from the responsible authorities is shocking, not least because the residents of Ashraf are on hunger strike.”...  Read More

 

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Iran: Father of a Camp Ashraf resident, arrested in Tehran
NCRI Statement

Saturday, October 3, 2009
NCRI - The agents of the Iranian regime’s infamous Ministry of Intelligence and Security arrested Mr. Jafar Kazemi, a 45-year-old former political prisoner and the father a Camp Ashraf resident in late September in Tehran.

Mr. Kazemi had already spent nine years in mullahs’ prison in 1980’s for supporting the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). He was sixteen when he was first arrested and subjected to various tortures and mistreatments.

Mr. Kazemi who is married with two children, was employed in a publishing company. His family has no information about him since his arrest.

The Iranian Resistance, while expressing concern against torture and pressures on Mr. Kazemi, calls on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations working groups on arbitrary detention and torture to take urgent measures regarding the release of political prisoners in Iran... 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

2020 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, # 195, Washington, DC 20006-1811

Web: www.USCCAR.org
E-Mail: info@USCCAR.org
Phone: 202-640-1947