In this Issue:
Top UN envoy concerned over conditions in Camp Ashraf,
UN News Center,
October 26, 2009
Account of attack in Iraq,
The Washington Times, October
Iraq: The unthinkable happened on July 28th,
The Huffington Post, October 20, 2009
European Parliament adopts urgent resolution
NCRI Web Site, October 23,
"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
Top UN envoy concerned over
conditions in Camp Ashraf
UN News Center
October 26, 2009
26 October 2009 – The top United Nations envoy to Iraq has expressed his
concerns over the humanitarian situation in a camp north of Baghdad, housing
thousands of Iranian dissidents.
Some 3,400 members of the People’s Mojahedeen Organization of Iran (PMOI), also
known as Mujahedin-e Khalq, live in Camp Ashraf in Iraq’s Diyala province.
During talks with diplomats the Iraqi capital, Ad Melkert, the
Secretary-General’s Special Representative, confirmed the commitment of the UN
Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) to monitor the situation in the camp on a
Earlier this month, UN human rights officials welcomed the Government’s decision
to release 36 members of the PMOI who had been detained since July when security
personnel used force to take control of the camp where they had been staying.
In a two-day operation in late July, Iraqi security personnel took control of
Camp Ashraf. Eleven people were killed and dozens more were wounded in that
In recent years, both the mission and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
have been exploring how to reach a resolution consistent with Iraq’s legitimate
sovereignty and international law.
“The UN continues to advocate that Camp Ashraf residents be protected from
forcible deportation, expulsion or repatriation contrary to the non-refoulement
principle,” according to a UNAMI press release issued today...
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Account of attack in Iraq
Camp was a U.S.-guaranteed refuge
By Jamshid Karegarfar
The Washington Times
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Jamshid Karegarfar is a manufacturing technology engineer, with expertise
in safety. He was educated at Kentucky's Murray State University and became a
resident of Camp Ashraf in Iraq 20 years ago.
ASHRAF, Iraq - How long can one live without food and water? It's a
question that I never considered until it became more than an answer on a TV
quiz program. It was a very personal matter of life and death.
Two-and-a-half months ago, I was living the day-to-day peaceful life of a
resident of Camp Ashraf in Iraq. It's a place you probably never heard of. It's
about 60 miles north of Baghdad and is home to some 3,500 Iranian dissidents -
exiles like me who want nothing better than to return to Iran when it is free of
the mullahs who oppress the people, preach hatred and export terrorism.
After I left Iran in search of freedom, I lived in California, Texas, Kentucky
and Tennessee for some time. Then, 20 years ago, I became a resident of Ashraf,
along with others who support the People's Mojaheedin of Iran (PMOI), the
principal Iranian opposition movement and dream of returning home one day.
Since the American-led invasion of Iraq, we lived - unarmed and in peace - under
the protection of U.S. forces and the Geneva Conventions. But since the United
States agreed to withdraw its forces from Iraq, we've been at the mercy of
Baghdad, which is more and more becoming good buddies with Tehran.
The situation came to a head July 28, when some 2,000 Iraqi forces stormed
Ashraf, and to add insult to injury, used American Humvees and weapons to do so,
while the Americans stood by and watched. The attack left 11 dead and 500
injured - and the Iraqis took 36 Ashraf residents as hostages. I was one of
At first, we were held outside Ashraf. During the first days of captivity we
were severely beaten, and went through physical and psychological torture. Some
of us who were run over by Humvees and hit by bullets were in excruciating pain.
Then, we were transferred to the local prison in the city of Khalis. From there,
they took us to an Iraqi military intelligence detention center and finally to
the prison at al-Muthana airfield. The goal was to break us down. But we refused
to give in.
In protestof the raid and being taken hostage, we went to a hunger strike and
refused food for weeks, and we prayed for deliverance. We had no idea what was
happening or why we were being held. And we had no idea of the support we were
getting around the world.
It was only after our release that we learned of hunger strikes outside the
White House and the U.S. Embassy in London, at Ashraf and other places in Europe
- all in support of our cause and of justice.
Our release was ordered three times by the court in Khalis, our initial stop.
Iraq's prosecutor general sent out the order for our immediate release to all
the police stations throughout Iraq. Yet, the Iraqi police and the government
refused to implement the order due to pressures and demands from Tehran.
Finally, after 65 days, and with hope almost gone as we were transferred to
Baghdad we decided to refuse not only food, but water as well.
As the days went by - one, then two, then three - hope faded even more. But we
were adamant. Some of my friends went into comas, and were taken away by Iraqi
guards. We found out later that they were taken to a hospital. And then, on the
72nd day of our hunger strike - and the seventh day of dry hunger strike as we
were struggling between life and death - our prayers were answered.
We were freed. We were taken to Ashraf medical center. The doctors told me that
several of us probably were only hours from death.
How we survived, I'll never know. It had to be God's will - that we should live
to tell our story, so that incidents like this should never happen again.
We also learned of the worldwide support we received from organizations like
Amnesty International, the International Federation of Human Rights, the World
Organization Against Torture, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Nobel Peace Prize
laureate Desmond Tutu, and countless parliamentarians, international figures,
and committees around the globe. We might have owed our lives to their efforts.
But that doesn't mean Tehran will stop trying to wipe out Ashraf and its
opponents anywhere it can reach them. That's why the world community must act.
To prevent a repetition of what happened to me and other Ashraf residents, the
U.S. government, the United Nations, and the European Union must step in.
The U.S. government, which signed an agreement with every single Ashraf
resident, must guarantee secure protection of Ashraf residents at least until
the end of 2011, while U.S. forces are present in Iraq.
The United Nations should deploy a permanent monitoring team in Ashraf to
prevent further violence and a repeat of the attack or forced displacement of
these people. And the fundamental rights and protections of Ashraf residents
under the Fourth Geneva Convention must be recognized as stipulated in the
European Parliament resolution adopted last April.
This would be a fitting time for President Obama to fulfill the Nobel Peace
Prize committee's faith in him by using his "bully pulpit" in the cause of peace
and security for the peaceful resident of Ashraf.
I don't want anyone else to find out firsthand how long one can go without water
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Iraq: The unthinkable
happened on July 28th
This eyewitness account by a victim of Iraqi
brutality against defenseless Iranian dissidents in Iraq is must reading -- on
both humanitarian and national interest grounds.
By Mostafa Sanaie
The Huffington Post
October 20, 2009
Mostafa Sanaie is a flight engineer. He studied in Northrop University,
California. He is an expert in flight engineering of Boeing 727. He has been
living in Ashraf, Iraq for the past 20 years.
Ashraf, Iraq - On October 7, as the sun came up and I sat in my little
prison cell in a suburb of Baghdad, I realized this could be the last sunrise I
I always loved the sun. It is particularly gorgeous this time of year in
Baghdad. But I was too frail to stand up to see it. I could have asked for help
as I was surrounded by 35 friends. But none of them was in a position to help.
It was the 72nd day of our hunger strike, the last seven a dry hunger strike,
meaning that for the past seven days we had refused to even take water. There
was a deafening silence in the room. Each minute I and my friends knew our lives
Though I was in an Iraqi jail, I am not Iraqi. I am Iranian who has lived in
Iraq for the past 23 years. All 36 of us are Iranian dissidents. all 3,400 of us
live in a place called Camp Ashraf, a self-sustained community about 60 miles
north of Baghdad. It was built by my relatives and friends, all members of the
opposition People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI).
Residents of Ashraf lived in peace side-by-side with their Iraqi neighbors until
the 2003 invasion by the U.S. and its Coalition allies. Then, we handed over our
arms to the U.S. voluntarily and signed agreements with the U.S. to remain where
we were as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
We were content to remain in Ashraf, live our lives in peace and strive to
achieve our goals. But, when the U.S. signed an agreement with the Malaki
government in Baghdad to withdraw its forces over the next two years, the rulers
in Tehran saw an opportunity to try to remove a thorn (the PMOI) from its side.
Given the tumultuous state of affairs in Iran after the rigged elections, it was
more imperative for the clerical regime to destroy its arch enemies. The mullahs
prevailed on their friends within the Iraqi government to move on defenseless
and civilian Ashraf residents.
The unthinkable happened on July 28: Iraqi forces, trained by the U.S. and using
American grenades and humvees, raided Ashraf and started using fire arms three
hours after the raid. Eleven people were killed, 500 wounded, and 36 - my
friends and I - were taken away.
We were severely beaten. We were severely wounded as the result of the beatings
and being run over by Iraqi humvees, with some suffering broken limbs. We all
staged a hunger strike to protest our illegal arrest and the physical and
psychological torture during detention. Our journey to an unknown future began.
After days in a makeshift cell outside Ashraf, we were taken to a prison in the
city of Khalis. The judge, after reviewing all the evidence, issued three
consecutive verdicts for our immediate release. But the Iraqi government ignored
Instead of being released, on October 1, we were beaten in our cells and taken
ultimately to al-Muthana Prison in a Baghdad suburb. That's when we decided not
to take in water, even though we knew we were fighting the clock.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International, the International Federation of Human Rights,
World Organization Against Torture, Human Rights Watch, and the Archbishop of
Canterbury, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu, and hundreds of
parliamentarians, Members of U.S. Congress and international figures, embarked a
campaign for our release.
On that sunny morning, as my life ebbed, my mind was on all the years that had
gone by. One thought kept coming back: My ultimate dream of a free and
democratic Iran; this was the goal that first had taken me to Ashraf as a young
man and had given me the impetus throughout this saga.
I had lost the sense of time when the door to our cell was opened. I saw more
troops. What did they want on our last day? What is left to be said? They knew
we would not cave in to their demands.
But they said we were released and were going back to Ashraf. Our hunger strike
and the international pressures compelled Iraqis to release us. We arrived
there, on the verge of death, and were taken immediately to receive urgent
Now, I am hardly back on my feet and can enjoy the beautiful sun again - and I
have a story to tell. But why should anyone listen?
The reason is simple: what happened to us can happen to others unless something
is done to protect the defenseless residents of Ashraf. The mullahs want them
eliminated, and regrettably they have the ear of Baghdad now that the U.S. is
It is essential that a permanent UN monitoring team be deployed in Ashraf to
prevent further attacks and our forced displacement as well as to ensure the
safeguarding of our fundamental rights and protections under the Fourth Geneva
Also, the U.S. government must keep its agreement with the people of Ashraf that
U.S. forces will protect them at least until the end of 2011, when the American
withdrawal is completed.
And the world must watch what happens because it will be an indicator of which
way Iraq is going - further into Tehran's camp or into a new future as a true
democracy in the Middle East...
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European Parliament adopts urgent resolution on Iran
NCRI Web Site
Friday, 23 October 2009
NCRI - The European Parliament adopted an urgent resolution on the situation of
human rights in Iran on Thursday in Strasbourg. The MEPs called for the release
of prisoners arrested in the demonstrations that followed the June 2009 sham
elections, the abolition of the death penalty and respect for press freedom.
Number of MEPs recalled the late July attack by Iraqi forces on members of the
Iranian opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/ MEK), in
Camp Ashraf in Iraq, which was carried out upon the order of Khamenei, mullahs’
Supreme Leader. They called for implementation of the April 24, 2009 European
Parliament resolution on the rights of Ashraf residents.
The resolution condemned “the massive and excessive use of force, arbitrary
arrests and possible torture to repress protest movements since Iran's
controversial presidential election.”
MEPs demanded that the International Committee of the Red Cross be allowed to
see all prisoners, with no exception.
MEPs reiterated their call for abolishment of death penalty. They condemned
death sentences and executions in Iran, particular those issued or carried out
on juvenile delinquents or minors.
MEPs protested against “the execution in Iran, on 11 October, of minor Behnood
Shojaee, who was hanged in breach of recognised international legal guarantees
in this area.”
Prior to the voting, a number of MEPs from various political groups condemned
the violations of human rights in Iran and criticized the EU’s appeasement
policy toward the mullahs in Iran and called for imposition of economic
Some MEPs called for immediate intervention of the United Nations and deployment
of a permanent UN monitoring team in Camp Ashraf to prevent further attacks on
the Camp’s residents and their forced displacement to other locations within
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Back Issues of Ashraf Monitor
Back Issues of Ashraf Monitor
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.
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:
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).