On 26th day, hunger strikers in camp Liberty demand the immediate release of 7 hostages

Today is the 26th day of the Liberty residents’ hunger strike. Due to heart and digestive problems and other illnesses related to the hunger strike, 7 of the hunger striker women were taken to the camp’s clinic under the supervision of Iraqi physicians. It is worth noting that to this date 188 hunger strikers have gone to the Iraqi clinic at Camp Liberty for physical problems stemming from the hunger strike.

camp Liberty hunger strike - day 26
camp Liberty hunger strike – day 26

In a letter to Senator Menendez, one of the hunger strikers wrote , “I am an engineer with a master’s degree from Virginia University and I am currently on hunger strike in Camp Liberty…. Our main focus is on the release of the hostages. This issue is being delayed because with every second that passes the possibility that they will be returned to the vicious Iranian regime increases… Everyone knows that Iraqi forces have these hostages in their custody… However, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki denies this. This is very horrible and it means that he wants to extradite the hostages to Iran. The question us now is why are UN and US government remaining silent about crimes of Iraqi government? 52 of our relatives and best friends who we lived with for years lost their lives in this crime and 7 others remain as prisoners in the hands of the criminals. We will do anything for the release of these hostages and bringing these criminals to justice, even if the price is our own lives.”

Don’t let Maliki Extradite 7 Ashraf Hostages to Iran

7 Ashraf residents, taken hostage by Iraqi forces on September 1st, have been missing for 26 days. According to information from inside the mullahs’ regime, the hostages, previously held in the prisons of Maliki’s “Dirty Division”, have been transferred to a prison known as Sharaf located in Baghdad’s Green Zone area, behind the office of the Iraqi Prime Minister.

Sharaf prison is a notorious prison that belongs to Maliki’s counter-terrorism apparatus in which Qods forces agents have an active role.

To complete his deceitful plot, Maliki has made the arrangements to have a team from the UN inspect the “Dirty Division” prison after the hostages were transferred.

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The Archbishop of Canterbury, the highest ranking religious figure in England, in his weekly sermon prayed for the release of Ashraf’s seven hostages and called for a week of prayer for hostages, remembering especially those from Camp Ashraf and those in Syria – and the people of Nairobi. He said, “In the very recent past it [camp Ashraf] was raided, a significant number of people were killed and a number of others disappeared into captivity.”

Also, in an international conference held in Geneva, former French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner stressed that America must urge Iraq to release the seven hostages taken captive during the Camp Ashraf massacre.

In his speech, he said, “If the Americans have some honor, they would require that the seven hostages, six women and coincidentally a man, be released and certainly not given to Iran because this would then be the ultimate contradiction.

“So allowing the prime minister installed by the Americans act on behalf of Iraq to kill and deliver people protected by UN, I think it would be a rare and massive stupidity committed by humans.”

The residents of camp Liberty remind the United States and the United Nations of their direct responsibility to protect the residents in Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty and demand for their immediate intervention to visit the hostages, prevent their extradition to the clerical regime in Iran, and secure their release. They also call on human rights activists to join the worldwide campaign for the release of the hostages and to rescue them from brutal torture by Maliki’s henchmen.

Daughter calls US Ambassador in Iraq to save her abducted mother

Shahabeh Barooti, whose mother was abducted by Iraqi government during the September 1 attack on camp Ashraf, has written a letter to US ambassador in Iraq to put pressure on Maliki to release her mother, and she asked “Camp Ashraf Massacre” to post her letter for public attention. Following is her letter

Shahabeh Barooti, resident of camp Liberty
Shahabeh Barooti, resident of camp Liberty

Dear Ambassador Beecroft

It is now September 25th and I still have no confirmation of my mother’s location from the US Embassy in Iraq or about seeing her.

You will have seen UN’s statement and my worries are also related to theirs “As three weeks have now passed, the Office reiterated its call on the Government to do its utmost to shed light on exactly what happened on 1 September“.

I hope the delay in revealing conditions of the 7 hostages does not have to mean as family members we should have to imagine them being forced back to Iran.

My mother also had refugee status in France other than being given protected person card by US Army in 2003. I am sure you find it important, as her only child, to be directly informed of what progress has been made with the Iraqi government to declare their full and safe release.

Iraqi government is holding them and you should press them hard to release my mother and other hostages.

 

Shahabeh Barooti

Camp Liberty, Iraq

September 25, 2013

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.

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