International community warns Maliki to release hostages immediately

by Majeed Mohades

The Ashraf hostages, abducted by Iraqi forces during the September 1 massacre, have now been missing for 25 days. The international campaign for their freedom continues.

With mounting international calls for hostages’ freedom, Maliki ordered them transferred to a special prison in Green Zone that is under his full control in order for their lead to be lost and there would be no sign of them.

Faleh Fayaz, Maliki’s Security Advisor, has ordered hostages to be again tortured in the new location and after extraction of all their information they are to be handed over to the religious fascism ruling Iran.

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Senior US senator Robert Menendez, chairman for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has told Iraq it must act to ensure the safety of Iranian residents in Camp Liberty and secure the release of seven hostages taken captive during the Camp Ashraf massacre.

In a strongly-worded letter to Al-Maliki, the senator said, “I am extremely worried about the fate of the seven members of Camp Ashraf that were taken hostage after the attack. There is reason to believe that these hostages, including six women, are being held near Baghdad and are in danger of being taken to Iran against their will, where they would face harsh treatment and possible death at the hands of the Iranian regime.

“I urge you to immediately take all possible measures to see that these seven hostages are located and brought to safety.”

Furthermore, UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told journalists in Geneva that UNHCR was “gravely concerned” about the safety of seven former residents of the Camp New Iraq (formerly Camp Ashraf), who remain unaccounted for since it was attacked on September 1. More than 50 residents died in the attack in central-eastern Iraq.

“According to reports reaching UNHCR, the missing persons are reportedly being held somewhere in Iraq and may be at risk of being returned involuntarily to Iran, which would be a serious breach of international law,” Fleming said. “These seven are all known by UNHCR to be asylum-seekers, and UNHCR wants to have the opportunity to interview them,” she added.

In light of the numerous and persistent reports over the past week that these individuals may be at risk of forced return to Iran, she said that UNHCR was calling on the Iraqi government to locate them, to ensure their physical security and to safeguard them against return to Iran against their will.

The residents of camp Liberty call on human rights defenders the world throughout to resort to urgent action to secure freedom of these hostages and save them from barbaric tortures by Maliki’s henchmen and prevent their extradition to the religious fascism ruling Iran. United States has the direct responsibility for the safety and security of the hostages and must act immediately to ensure their immediate release and return to camp Liberty.

Hunger strikers demand immediate release of 7 hostages

Today is the 25th day of the Liberty residents’ hunger strike. 16 of hunger strikers were taken to the camp’s clinic, managed by Iraqi physicians, because their health condition had deteriorated from the ongoing hunger strike, including heart, digestive and other problems. Three of them were put under serum treatment. One of the hunger strike fainted at the site of the hunger strike. 8 people are suffering from decreasing eye sight and hearing. It is worth noting that to this day 169 of the hunger strikers have been taken to the clinic of Iraqi physicians due to the problems they have suffered from the hunger strike.

All the hunger strikers have lost an average of 5 to 10kgs and have become weak, but relying on their strong will, they are determined to continue their hunger strike to the end, until their just demands are met.

Camp Liberty Hunger Strike - Day 25
Camp Liberty Hunger Strike – Day 25

After receiving the credible news of the relocation of the seven hostages to a special prison of Maliki in Baghdad’s Green Zone, the hunger strikers are very concerned that the hostages will be tortured in the new location and will be handed over to the Iranian regime. They are demanding urgent action by the United States and United Nations for the immediate release of these hostages; they have so far failed to fulfill their duties and they must take serious action before the situation worsens.

One of the hunger strikers said today, “While both the US and UN are fully aware of the location these hostages are held, if anything happens to them I consider them responsible because they had guaranteed the protection of Ashraf and Liberty residents. The US and UN have legal and moral responsibilities and duties vis-à-vis the lives of each and every one of the seven hostages and they must stand up to their obligations.”

US Senate Foreign Relations Chair tells Maliki: Iraq is responsible for Iranian dissidents, hostages safety

menendezNCRI – A senior US Senator has told Iraq it must act to ensure the safety of Iranian residents in Camp Liberty and secure the release of seven hostages taken captive during the Camp Ashraf massacre.

The Democratic Senator from New Jersey, Robert Menendez has told Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki his government must also cooperate with a UN investigation into the Ashraf atrocity that left 52 people dead on September 1.

Mr Menendez – chair of Senate Foreign Relations Committee – said in a strongly-worded letter to al-Maliki: “I write to express my grave concern about the September I attack on Camp Ashraf that killed 52 residents, with seven more taken hostage.

“The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq is conducting an investigation into the attacks. I urge your full cooperation with their efforts and ask you to act decisively to bring the perpetrators of this heinous act to justice as quickly as possible.

“I am also extremely worried about the fate of the seven members of Camp Ashraf that were taken hostage after the attack. There is reason to believe that these hostages, including six women, are being held near Baghdad and are in danger of being taken to Iran against their will,
where they would face harsh treatment and possible death at the hands of the Iranian regime.

“I urge you to immediately take all possible measures to see that these seven hostages are located and brought to safety.”

Mr Menedez also stressed Iraq’s responsibility for all Iranian dissidents in their country, adding: “Finally, I remind you that the Iraqi government is responsible for the residents of Camp Liberty and the seven hostages.

“This latest act underscores the constant threat of violence that looms over this community and I ask in the strongest possible terms that you and your government ensure their safety.”

UN rights office calls on Iraq to determine whereabouts of missing Iranian exiles

ohchr-logo“The United Nations human rights office today called on the Government of Iraq to do all it can to ascertain the whereabouts of seven former residents of Camp Ashraf, who have been missing since the facility, which housed Iranian exiles, was attacked on 1 September, leaving at least 52 residents dead,” UN News Center reported.

“We are gravely concerned about allegations that seven former residents of Camp Ashraf, six of whom are reported to be women, were kidnapped during the events of 1 September,” Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said at a briefing in Geneva.

“If they have indeed been kidnapped, all efforts should be made to secure their release unharmed,” Mr. Colville added, noting unconfirmed reports that suggest that they are being held at an unidentified location in Iraq and are at risk of being forcibly returned to Iran.

“As three weeks have now passed, we reiterate our call on the Government to do its utmost to shed light on exactly what happened and to identify the perpetrators of these killings,” Mr. Colville said, while welcoming the transfer of the remaining residents to Hurriya.

“He added that UNHCR and others shared the concern over the missing former residents and called on the Government to ensure their safety and prevent their involuntary return to Iran,” the report said.

HOLD THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR CAMP ASHRAF ACCOUNTABLE

boozmanSep 16 2013 – While much of the international community’s attention was turned toward the atrocities in Syria, human rights violations were occurring elsewhere in the world. Take for instance the horrific attack that recently took place at Camp Ashraf in Iraq’s Diyala province.

Camp Ashraf has long been home to Iranian exiles who now find themselves on the losing end of a closer Iraqi-Iranian relationship. Earlier this month, 52 of the approximately 100 remaining Camp Ashraf residents were shot dead and seven have gone missing, presumed to have been taken hostage by the attackers.

I strongly condemn the mass executions of innocent residents of Camp Ashraf and call for the immediate release of any hostages taken during that event. It is highly likely that Iraqi security forces loyal to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are responsible for the killings. Iraqi officials deny involvement and say an internal dispute is to blame.

An investigation into this terrible event is underway. It must be allowed to move forward with interference from the Iraqi government. Outside groups such as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has already issued a disturbing statement “praising” the brutal murder of these exiles, need to stay out of this and let the UN investigation transpire.

Both the Iraqi and Iranian governments should be using whatever influence they may have with groups that may be holding missing persons from the camp to secure their immediate release.

It is also vital that all parties cooperate with the proposed plan to relocate the survivors at Camp Hurriya while the UN works to secure commitments from host countries to allow permanent relocation for them.

This tragic event is a perfect of example of how our responsibilities do not end even long after the military intervention is over. The US and the rest of the international community have an obligation to ensure that whoever is responsible for these murders are held accountable and that any and all hostages are immediately released.

Hunger strike in Camp Liberty enters 4th week

Call on U.S. and UN for immediate release of seven Ashraf hostages

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On Saturday, September 21, the hunger strike of PMOI members in Camp Liberty that started on September 1 after the massacre and mass execution of PMOI members in Ashraf, finishes its third week.

hunger strike whose immediate demand is the expeditious release and return of the hostages are in dire physical conditions. Hunger strikers are also demanding deployment of UN Blue Helmet forces in Camp Liberty and providing imperatives security provisions to the camp (such as 17,500 T-walls, protective vests and helmets), and establishment of an international fact-finding committee to probe the human catastrophe of September 1 and bring its perpetrators to justice.

They expressed their abhorrence that United States and United Nations have not taken any effective measures to save the seven hostages who are in danger of extradition to the religious fascism ruling Iran at any moment from the claws of Maliki’s assassins. They reiterated that until liberation of hostages and realizing security at Camp Liberty through deployment of UN Blue Helmet forces, they shall continue with their hunger strike.

Response by PMOI spokesman in Camp Liberty to Maliki’s false claims

victims of massacre at camp Ashraf, September 1, 2013
victims of massacre at camp Ashraf, September 1, 2013

In response to the Maliki’s statement today, denying the abduction of seven Ashraf residents, I state the following:

While several sources, including representatives of the United Nations and the UNHCR, confirmed having seen the hostages in Baghdad, and while according the Ms. Ashton’s letter, the presence of the hostages in Baghdad has been officially confirmed; Maliki, in a dirty deal with the Iranian regime, announced in his website that the hostages are not in Iraq, and that the Iraqi government has committed no act of violence in Ashraf on September 1st, the GoI is not aware of the subject and the PMOI (MEK) is preventing the investigation from taking place!

This ridiculous claim belies the evil intentions of Maliki’s government pertaining to the extradition of the hostages and the prevention of any investigation and the continuation of the massacre of PMOI members in camp Liberty. This happens while, on September 2, the Special Representative of the Secretary General himself viewed the bodies of 52 victims of a mass execution and crime against humanity – most of whom had their hands cuffed – and expressed his outrage.

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