Hundreds hold White House rally in worldwide solidarity with residents of Ashraf

10 08 2009

Sunday, 09 August 2009

Demonstrators in black blindfolds and simulated bloody shirts with the names of Iranian exiles being detained by Iraq gather in front of the White House in Washington August 8, 2009. The rally was held in support of Iranian exiles in Camp Ashraf in Iraq who have been forcibly removed and detained by Iraqi forces, resulting in deaths and injuries.SOURCE US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents
WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 – Hundreds of Iranian-Americans held a rally on the 11th day of a hunger strike outside the White House in show of worldwide solidarity with 3,500 “Protected Persons” of Ashraf, who came under a barbaric attack by Iraqi troops on July 28 and 29.

At least 12 residents of Ashraf were killed and more than 400 wounded. Thirty-six individuals, many of them injured, were taken hostage. Seven of them are in serious condition and need urgent medical care.

The unprovoked attack was ordered by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, pursuant to a bi-lateral agreement with the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to dismantle Ashraf and extradite its residents to the Iranian regime.

During the DC rally, Dr. Allan Gerson, former Legal Counsel to the US delegation to the UN and Deputy Assistant Attorney General, said that the attack by the Iraqi forces was a blatant breach of Iraq’s obligation under international law and amounted to a war crime. He added that the U.S. forces which were present on site should have intervened to prevent the assault.

Marjan, the renowned Iranian pop artist performed. Her two sons were executed by the Iranian regime in early 1980s.

The protesters also laid wreath at the photographs of those killed by the Iraqi forces in Camp Ashraf.

Calling for the immediate release of the abductees, the rally participants chanted, “36 hostages must be freed, Ashraf protection guaranteed,” and “Iraqi police aggression violates Geneva Convention”, “Silence is not an option, President Obama Must Take Action.”

Given the incapacity of the Iraqi government to protect Camp Ashraf residents, the rally called on President Obama to immediately put the US forces in charge of protecting Ashraf until an international force under the UN supervision replaces them.

Camp Ashraf has been home to members of the main Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) for 23 years. The Camp Ashraf residents had signed an agreement with the Multi-National Force-Iraq in 2004, whereby they were granted “Protected Persons” status under Geneva Convention. Previously in May 2003, Ashraf residents voluntarily handed over their weapons and in exchange the U.S. committed itself to protect them until their final disposition.


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