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ASHRAF MONITOR

Volume 1, Issue 47

News about the Humanitarian Crisis for Camp Ashraf Residents

Friday, December 4, 2009

 

In this Issue:

 


"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

 

Spain might probe Iranian killings in Iraq
Associated Press

December 2, 2009

MADRID (AP) — A Spanish judge has asked Iraq if it is investigating a melee in which Iraqi security forces are accused of killing 11 members of an Iranian exile group — a first step toward a possible probe by the judge himself.

Judge Fernando Andreu is acting under Spain's universal justice doctrine, which allows grave crimes alleged to have been committed in other countries to be prosecuted here, so long as certain conditions are met. Andreu made the request in an order released this week and obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.

One such condition is that the country where a crime allegedly took place not be holding — or already have carried out — an investigation of its own.

And although there is no link to Spain in this case — such a tie is a new condition set in a recent reform of the universal justice law — Spanish judges can still act if the crime violates an international treaty signed by Spain. Andreu says a Geneva Convention does apply, addressing the protection of civilians in war times...

Andrew is acting on a complaint filed by human rights lawyers in Spain representing members of the Iranian exile group, the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran. There is no deadline for the Iraqi government to respond to Andreu's query.

In Baghdad, Iraqi justice officials did not respond to calls for comment on the Spanish request.

The attack by Iraqi troops and riot police took place July 28 in Camp Ashraf, the base of the Iranian opposition group. Eleven Iranian exiles were killed: either shot, beaten or run over by military vehicles, and 36 were arrested, according to members of the group.

Throughout the confrontation, American soldiers who once protected the Iranian opposition group stood by. According to U.S officials, they had no legal authority to intervene...  Read More

 

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Spanish judge mulls probe of Iraq refugee camp massacre
Agence France Presse

December 1, 2009
MADRID - A top Spanish judge is considering launching a probe into a raid by Iraqi police and soldiers on a camp for Iranian refugees in July that killed 11 people, according to a court document released Tuesday.

National Audience judge Fernando Andreu has accepted a complaint filed by family members of residents of Camp Ashraf under the legal doctrine known as "universal jurisdiction" which allows grave human rights crimes to be prosecuted in Spain.

Spain in October approved a law limiting the application of the doctrine to cases where there is a clear link to Spain after investigations into alleged human rights abuses involving other nations like China and Israel caused diplomatic headaches for Madrid.

Andreu acknowledged in his ruling that the case has no link to Spain but he deemed himself competent to investigate it, arguing that it could violate the 1949 Geneva Conventions on the humanitarian protection of civilians in war zones... Read More

 

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Iranian group: health care blocked at Iraq camp
Associated Press
December 4, 2009

BAGHDAD — Members of an Iranian opposition group claimed Friday that Iraqi authorities are limiting their access to outside health care at a camp in northern Iraq where they have been under watch since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

The charges are the latest complaints about conditions at Camp Ashraf, which was raided by Iraqi security forces in July in a melee that reportedly left 11 people dead and dozens injured.

Iraqi officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the accusations by the Iranian group, the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, which used Iraq as a base for years under Saddam. But one Iraqi lawmaker, Ahmed Al-Alwan, said it appeared that authorities were "tightening controls" on the camp.

Ashraf remains a quandary for officials in Baghdad and Washington. The nearly 3,500 Iranian exiles would face almost certain arrest if they returned to their homeland, but Iraq's Shiite-led government does not want to continue to host them and risk souring their important relations with Shiite power Iran...
 

A doctor in the camp, Jawad Ahmadi, told The Associated Press that Iraqi forces are cutting off supplies of medicine and access to outside medical specialists. Ahmadi said there are a total of 10 physicians in the camp, but they lack supplies and the expertise to deal with patients being treated for problems such as bladder cancer and reconstructive surgery for a shattered pelvis.

"These people are suffering," he said. "We can do little more for them with what we have."

Ashraf's residents are very reluctant to leave the camp because of fear of being detained and possibly threatened with deportation. In October, Iraq returned 36 Iranian exiles to Ashraf after holding them since the raid in July. At the time, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the men remain under a deportation order and authorities were "looking for a country that is willing to accept them."... Read More

 

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Iraqi forces prevent entry of medicine and food to Camp Ashraf
NCRI Press Release

November 25, 2009
Despite cold season, no fuel has been allowed into Ashraf for past month
NCRI - As cruel and inhuman siege of Camp Ashraf continues to intensify, the Iraqi forces on Tuesday morning prevented entry of a vehicle carrying essential medicine for the residents of Ashraf, especially for those wounded in July attack and seriously ill.

In an attempt by Ashraf residents, the vehicle returned to the camp in the afternoon but it was stopped again by Iraqi forces and forced to drive away.

Several containers carrying potatoes, vegetables and other food stuff were also prevented from entering the camp on Tuesday. The Iraqi forces said that a representative from the Prime Ministry Committee, which is responsible for suppression of Camp Ashraf, must go from Baghdad to the camp to issue permission to allow food inside.

Additionally, it has been for over a month that no fuel has been allowed into the camp. On November 4, the Iraqi forces arrested the drivers of two fuel tankers going to Ashraf. They were transferred to a prison in the city of Khalis, near Ashraf, and still kept there charged with carrying fuel for Ashraf residents. As temperature falling in the cold season and due to constant power cuts, lack of fuel poses serious threats to Ashraf residents... Read More
 

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MPs and Peers welcome Spanish court's decision to investigate Iranian camp
Hendon Times (UK)

December 4, 2009
MPs AND Peers from across the political spectrum have welcomed a Spanish court's decision to investigate claims Iraqi troops killed refugees at Camp Ashraf.

MPs and Peers from all parties have welcomed the decision by the Spanish central court to investigate a raid on July 28 and 29 by Iraq's armed forces on the Iranian refugee camp 60 miles north-east of Baghdad.

The raid led to 11 deaths and around 500 injuries, and 36 people were detained.

Relatives of the refugee camp's residents, many of whom live in Barnet, have claimed they were tortured, shot and taken hostage.

But the Iraqis say they went into the camp to establish a police station and did not use force.

Barnet residents went on hunger strike outside the United States Embassy earlier this year to urge the US to take back control of the camp and to secure the release of those taken from it.

Camp Ashraf's 3,400 residents are all political dissidents who escaped from Iran after the Islamic revolution and have lived under their own rules inside Iraq ever since.

The country's Central Investigative Court ruled on Friday that the residents of the camp were "protected persons" under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

It claimed its competency to investigate the events under the principles of universal jurisdiction established in the Geneva Conventions.

Lord Corbett of Castle Vale, chairman of the all-Party British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom, said: "The court's affirmation of the status of PMOI members as 'protected persons' obliges the US and other Coalition members, as responsible parties in Iraq, to ensure that Baghdad ceases to violate residents' rights and refrains from its threats to forcibly displace them within Iraq.”

The court decided to investigate the raid following a complaint filed by relatives of Ashraf residents.

The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom said it strongly supported the decision of the Spanish court... 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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Web: www.USCCAR.org
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Phone: 202-640-1947