This is an interview with Babak Safa, one of the hunger strikers in Camp Liberty. This is the second time he’s on hunger strike, the first time being in 2009, after the attack of Iraqi forces against Camp Ashraf and the abduction of 36 residents. He has now been on hunger strike for 90 days.

Babak, on hunger strike in Ashraf, 2009
Babak, on hunger strike in Ashraf, 2009

What is your name and where did you live before coming to Ashraf?

My name is Babak Safa and I use to live in Canada with my family before coming to Ashraf.

Why did you participate in the hunger strike and how long has it been?

My participation, like my other friends, is aimed to free our seven hostages who were abducted from Ashraf by Iraqi forces on September 1st. I would like to underscore that six of the hostages are women and since the day of the attack, I have been very worried and apprehensive about them, I think you can imagine how they treat women in Maliki’s prisons where you can find absolutely no sign of human rights respect and legality, especially for women.

Don’t you think that hunger strike is a bit uncommon and abnormal now a day?

Of course I do, but don’t you think that not keeping a promise, issued by a country like the US and an organization like the UN is much more out of norm and irregular?? They keep breaking their promises, they didn’t provide our security, and the process of transferring us into a safe place is being implemented at turtle-speed with no prospect, there is no news about our hostages after 87 days, so we have no choice but to do something so that our voices can be heard. As the matter of fact, this is not my first time, but is the second time that I have found no choice but to start a hunger strike.

The first time was when our 36 friends were taken hostage 4 years ago, during the attack of Maliki’s forces to Ashraf which result 11 deaths and more than 1000 injuries. I was on hunger strike for 72 days.

Babak, on hunger strike in Camp Liberty, 2013
Babak, on hunger strike in Camp Liberty, 2013

What do you expect the international organizations and also the UN do about hostages?

 The fact is anything that happens to the hostages, as well as the hunger strikers who have not eaten food for 87 days now, is directly the responsibility of the US and UN.

The US had given each and every one of us a card that designated us as protected persons. So what we expect is the promise that was given to us to be kept. I personally can’t believe how easy they undermine their reputation.

 Is there a time limitation for your hunger strike?

There is no time limitation. We are not counting the days, because no matter how long it will take, we will not stop until the release of seven hostages. Everything has a price, if the world has this much cruelty and wants to see our death as the price of the freedom of our hostages, so be it.

I can’t deny the deterioration of my physical status, but I also feel that I am more determined than ever.

Thank you for your time and is there a last sentence you want to say?

Those authorities, who are responsible for our protection and turned their backs on us, must really be ashamed.