International community warns Maliki to release hostages immediately

by Majeed Mohades

The Ashraf hostages, abducted by Iraqi forces during the September 1 massacre, have now been missing for 25 days. The international campaign for their freedom continues.

With mounting international calls for hostages’ freedom, Maliki ordered them transferred to a special prison in Green Zone that is under his full control in order for their lead to be lost and there would be no sign of them.

Faleh Fayaz, Maliki’s Security Advisor, has ordered hostages to be again tortured in the new location and after extraction of all their information they are to be handed over to the religious fascism ruling Iran.

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Senior US senator Robert Menendez, chairman for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has told Iraq it must act to ensure the safety of Iranian residents in Camp Liberty and secure the release of seven hostages taken captive during the Camp Ashraf massacre.

In a strongly-worded letter to Al-Maliki, the senator said, “I am extremely worried about the fate of the seven members of Camp Ashraf that were taken hostage after the attack. There is reason to believe that these hostages, including six women, are being held near Baghdad and are in danger of being taken to Iran against their will, where they would face harsh treatment and possible death at the hands of the Iranian regime.

“I urge you to immediately take all possible measures to see that these seven hostages are located and brought to safety.”

Furthermore, UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told journalists in Geneva that UNHCR was “gravely concerned” about the safety of seven former residents of the Camp New Iraq (formerly Camp Ashraf), who remain unaccounted for since it was attacked on September 1. More than 50 residents died in the attack in central-eastern Iraq.

“According to reports reaching UNHCR, the missing persons are reportedly being held somewhere in Iraq and may be at risk of being returned involuntarily to Iran, which would be a serious breach of international law,” Fleming said. “These seven are all known by UNHCR to be asylum-seekers, and UNHCR wants to have the opportunity to interview them,” she added.

In light of the numerous and persistent reports over the past week that these individuals may be at risk of forced return to Iran, she said that UNHCR was calling on the Iraqi government to locate them, to ensure their physical security and to safeguard them against return to Iran against their will.

The residents of camp Liberty call on human rights defenders the world throughout to resort to urgent action to secure freedom of these hostages and save them from barbaric tortures by Maliki’s henchmen and prevent their extradition to the religious fascism ruling Iran. United States has the direct responsibility for the safety and security of the hostages and must act immediately to ensure their immediate release and return to camp Liberty.

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