Statement by OMCT regarding Camp Liberty protection and seven Camp Ashraf hostages


Press Release – For immediate release

Brussels-  29 October 2013

It has gone 58 days since the criminal attack on Camp Ashraf north of Baghdad when 52 defenceless Iranian refugees were savagely executed by Iraqi Special Forces under command of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on 1 September and seven more including six women were taken hostage. A UN report noted that many victims had been handcuffed before being shot in the head. Wounded refugees were finished-off with coup de graces in the camp’s clinic.

While evidence footage, witness accounts and technical data leave absolutely no doubt that Iraqi government was directly involved in this criminal attack which involved hundreds of uniformed Iraq soldiers, two hours of shootings and explosions in a camp that was surrounded and protected 24/7 by Iraqi forces, Maliki has astonishingly claimed to have no knowledge at all of who committed the crime or where the hostages have been taken!

According to reliable reports, the hostages who are being held in Baghdad, have been interrogated and tortured.

The European Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution on 10 October urging “the immediate and unconditional release” of the Ashraf hostages by Iraq. Last week over 150 members of the European Parliament, including 6 vice-presidents called on EU’s leadership “to make Iraq fulfil this demand.”

For the past 58 days, Iranian families and supporters of Camp Ashraf residents have been on hunger strike in many cities of the world including London, Berlin, Geneva, Melbourne, Ottawa and in Camp Liberty. They insist to continue their protest until the seven hostages from Camp Ashraf are released and safely returned to their families and friends and until the protection of the 3000 refugees in camp liberty from further attacks by Iraq is guaranteed by the UN.

US President is set to meet with Maliki in the White House on 1st November 2013. The World Organisation Against Torture – European Office (OMCT-Europe) calls on President Obama not to meet with a murderer and a kidnapper who has been indicted by Spanish court for his previous crimes against Iranian refugees in Iraq.

Unless Maliki releases the seven hostages and allows an independent international investigation to be conducted into the 1 September massacre and previous killings by Iraqi forces, any meeting would damage Obama’s credibility on human rights and tarnish the Peace prize that he received in the beginning of his first term.

The EU should also play its role. The lack of action by High Representative Baroness Ashton and by her External Action Services to release the hostages in Iraq is regretful.  EU should also call for a peacekeeping force to protect the remaining 3000 asylum-seekers and refugees at Camp Liberty from further attacks by Iraqi forces until they are moved to safe countries.

Pierre Galand, President of OMCT-Europe

Brussels, 29 October 2013