I am Mohammad Akhavan, one of the residents of camp Liberty in Iraq and I wanted to very briefly talk to you about the massacre that took place in Camp Ashraf on September first, where 52 people were brutally killed.
One of them was my twin brother Saeed, 29 years old. Our mother was killed by the mullahs’ regime in Iran. We grew up in Canada and he was the closest person to me. On Sunday, September 1, 2013, the Iraqi Special forces attacked Ashraf, handcuffed him, and executed him along with 51 others.
I had seen crimes against humanity before. I’d had first-hand experience of two previous attacks to camp Ashraf and two missile attacks on camp Liberty by Maliki’s forces. But this was unprecedented. Noori Al Maliki’s forces conducted the attack, and killed everyone they caught mercilessly and without any excuse. Based on an agreement with the residents of camp Ashraf, the UN, US, and the Iraqi government, my brother was staying in Ashraf to sell the property and belongings of the 3000 residents who had been relocated to camp Liberty. They were to stay until the property was sold, and there was to be no time limitation on the duration of their stay in Ashraf. But, to this day, the Iraqi Government has prevented us from selling as much as a dollar’s worth of our property. Instead, its Special Forces set everything on fire on September 1.
The US and UN had responsibility to protect my brother and the rest of the residents of Ashraf, according to the agreements that they had with each one of the residents. They were all protected persons under the fourth Geneva Convention, and as UNHCR had underscored, they were “people of concern” and asylum seekers. But they betrayed my brother, and his ultimate demise was directly due to their inefficiency and failure to stand up to their obligations.
The Iraqi government denies having taken part in this atrocious crime, but there is solid evidence showing Iraqi Special Forces carrying out the attack. Suffice it to say that two Iraqi officials who preferred to remain anonymous confessed to Reuters that Iraqi Special forces had stormed the camp and killed its residents. Also, after visiting the camp, UNAMI confirmed having witnessed 52 dead bodies, all of which had been shot in the head or upper body, and many of them wearing handcuffs. You may see a video at the following address that shows how Iraqi forces raided the camp in broad daylight and slaughtered my brother and other residents one by one while, at the same time, the Iraqi chief of police in Dyiala province was stationed there at the camp during the entire massacre, which started from midnight and lasted until 11am.
The threat to the residents of Ashraf and Liberty remains. We are currently on a hunger strike, and we will continue until the 7 hostages taken by the Iraqi forces are released, 6 of whom are women. And also we’re asking for UN’s blue helmets to be stationed in Ashraf and Liberty to protect us from further attacks. Because so far, the Iraqi government has attacked us in Ashraf and Liberty on five accounts, and we do not trust them one bit.
Take a look at my brother’s picture. All he ever wanted was freedom and democracy for a people that have been deprived of their rights for decades on end. He did nothing to deserve such a fate, to be executed with his hands tied behind his back. In fact, no human being does.
Nothing will bring back my brother now, but you can help stop this injustice and prevent similar attacks from taking place by being the voice of the people of Ashraf and Liberty. Condemn this crime and call for justice. Help us free our hostages. Call on the UN and US to stay true to their obligations.
I thank you in advance for your help
Camp Liberty, Iraq
Mohammad’s video message: