by Alireza Khalu-kakaie
In the most deserted of prisons, and even in despotic states, a prisoner is granted some rights. First and foremost, he/she enjoys representation by a lawyer, the right to see reporters and meeting his/her family and friends. Here is Camp Liberty, a ransacked and deserted former US military base adjacent to Baghdad International Airport. As a member of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran and Iranian Resistance, along with thousands of other camp residents, we are deprived of all that. We are even banned from free access to medical services, freedom of movement and any contact with the outside world.
I am imprisoned in a place described by many dignitaries including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani as a concentration camp. The entry of any computers or communications devices to this prison is banned. Even having a phone, being one of the most basic necessities in 21st century life, can be considered a crime here by the Iraqi government.
The first and last time reporters were seen inside the camp’s perimeters – surrounded by 4-meter high cement walls – was back in September 2012. Of course they were not allowed to go anywhere they wished. George Bakoos, then security advisor to former Iraqi prime minister Nouri Maliki, guided them on a prepared tour in Liberty to prove that living conditions in the camp are above standard! He took the reporters to the camp’s only dining hall to show the residents’ own plasma TV sets and claim the refugees even have plasma TVs!
Question: Why are the camp’s directors still the same handpicked individuals associated to the Iranian regime? Why are they preventing the entry of communications devices and computers into Liberty? Why do they return our lawyers and reporters from Liberty’s gates? Why don’t they allow the truth about this prison be revealed to the outside world? If life in Liberty is truly above refugee standards, why are its gates closed to all visitors?
The ‘sin’ committed by my friends and I is none other than striving for freedom and being loyal to universal human rights values. I am a prison in this camp for the ‘crime’ of not succumbing to the terrorist regime ruling Iran.
This dictatorship is so utterly terrified of defenseless and besieged prisoners in Camp Liberty. Why? Because they are steadfast on their position and are the only hope for the Iranian people to establish freedom in their country. The symbol of this perseverance and resistance is none other than Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran standing against the misogynist ayatollahs, and struggling to bring about freedom and democracy in Iran. Each year in June in the grand rally organized by the Iranian Resistance, along with supporters of this movement and prominent international dignitaries from Europe and the US, she will be the voice of the freedom loving people of Iran to the entire world.
This year we will be campaigning with Maryam Rajavi on June 13th for freedom and democracy in Iran, and we can, and we must be the voice of all the prisoners in Camp Liberty, and also all Iranians in the large prison called ‘Iran’. We must return hopes of change to all Iranians across this beautiful country.