In the past 9 months 71 merchants have been sent away from Camp Liberty entrance gate

On Tuesday, May 27, an Iraqi merchant who had gone to Camp Liberty to discuss purchasing residents’ property in Ashraf was stopped for a long time at the entrance checkpoint to the camp only to be returned back by the orders of the Prime Ministry officers. This was while the Iraqi officers and UNAMI had been informed of the particulars of this merchant in advance.

In the past nine months and after the transfer of the last group of PMOI members from Ashraf to Camp Liberty on September 12, 2013, seventy-one Iraqi merchants have referred to Camp Liberty to purchase the residents’ property in Ashraf, but the Iraqi forces have prevented them from entering the camp. On the one hand the Government of Iraq (GoI) continues to steal the residents’ property in Ashraf and on the other hand, contrary to prior agreements, it obstructs the sale of the residents’ property. Hampering the sale of the property is the other side of the coin of stealing the residents’ property.

The joint plan by the United Nations and the U.S. Embassy in Iraq dated 5 September 2013, that has the approval of the Iraqi government as well, reads: “The GOI shall allow the residents to sell their property at any time” and “The GOI shall safeguard and guarantee all Ashraf property” and “Immediately after the inventory is submitted to the GOI representatives in the presence of the UN monitors, the remaining residents shall relocate to camp Hurriya under UN monitoring”.

Confirming the abovementioned plan on the next day, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Ms. Beth Jones wrote in a letter to Mrs. Rajavi: “The United Nations will help facilitate the safeguarding of the property at Ashraf through your retention of a trusted local security firm.”

However, in the last nine months, government of Iraq has breached all the articles in this plan much like the other accords and despite repeated requests by the residents and their representatives has obstructed a trip by residents’ legal representative Senator Robert Torricelli and his legal team to Iraq and has prevented discussions with Iraqi, UN and U.S. officials to resolve the issue of Ashraf property.