Medical Siege against Camp Liberty, a crime against humanity

After Nouri al-Maliki assumed office as Iraq’s Prime Minister in 2005, and after the U.S. government vested Iraqi forces with the security of Camp Ashraf in 2009, an inhumane medical siege was placed against the residents of the camp. The siege came in tandem with a plethora of other illegal and repressive measures carried out by the Iraqi government and at the behest of the Iranian regime.

Even after the residents were transferred to Camp Liberty, in the vicinity of Baghdad International Airport (a forcible relocation that was sanctioned and encouraged by the U.S. and the UN), the government of Iraq continued to impose medical restrictions without relent, an undertaking that has so far caused the death of 21 patients in a most painful manner. The latest instance was Taghi Abassian, a resident who died from intentional delays and obstructions caused in his treatment process by Iraqi forces.

The residents of Camp Liberty are not entitled to choose their doctor, hospital, time of their appointment, nurse, interpreter… At times, Iraqi security forces in control of the camp prevent cancer patients from receiving medical treatment for months.

For instance, one of the residents who suffered from severe pain in his arm was waiting to visit the doctor since April 5, 2014, and Iraqi forces denied him access to hospitals for no specific reason. On May 15, he was finally allowed to go to a hospital in Baghdad, where it became clear that his arm was broken because he was suffering from a case of propagating cancer, which has weakened his skeletal structure. Since May 15 to this day, he still hasn’t been able to start his treatment process. During this period Iraqi forces have cancelled his trip to the hospital six times without having any acceptable reason for doing so.

In another instance, one of the residents is on the verge of losing his sight because Iraqi forces have prevented him from receiving a vital eye surgery for two years.

There are actually hundreds of patients in Camp Liberty who are waiting for their turn to visit Baghdad hospitals, and a number of them are in dangerous health conditions. Iraqi forces in charge of the camp effectively allow no more than four patients to visit hospitals on a daily basis, and only a single hospital can be visited per day. Every day, a number of patients are excluded from visiting the hospital.

Iraqi security forces resort to different methods to torment the patients to death. In some cases, Iraqi forces deliberately delay patients who need to be transferred to the hospital urgently for hours, raising absurd and ridiculous excuses. As a result, when the patient in question arrives at the hospital, work time is there is no doctor available. In one instance, on October 11, 2014, Iraqi security forces at the camp’s entrance delayed a patient who had suffered from a heart stroke for three-and-half hours before allowing him to go to the hospital.

An international campaign has begun to put an end to the medical siege against Camp Liberty. The video contains messages recorded by a number of Camp Liberty patients who suffer from terminal illness. They call on the U.S., UN (who are morally and legally responsible for their safety and well-being) and all awakened consciences across the world to put pressure on the Iraqi government to lift the medical siege.

All readers are requested to join this campaign on the hashtag #MedicalSiege on Twitter. You can help us by recording your own videos and calling for the abolishment of the medical siege against Camp Liberty.

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