EU: MPs want UN protection for Iranian exiles at Iraqi camp

15 08 2009
Brussels, 14 August (AKI) – A group of European MPs on Friday urged the United Nations to send a permanent mission to a refugee camp in northern Iraq, where Iranian exiles are alleged to have been violently attacked at the end of July. Residents at Camp Ashraf near the Iranian border claim at least nine residents were killed and another 450 injured when Iraqi security forces attacked the facility on 28 July and 29 July.

Friends of a Free Iran in the European Parliament held a media conference on Friday to appeal for UN protection for the 3,500 members of the People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI) who live there.

The Iranian opposition group has been in Iraq since 1986.

The organisation has claimed another 36 people at the camp which is 60 kilometres north of Baghdad were detained by Iraqi security forces and the MPs accused Baghdad of a “worrying” complicity in the move.

The MPs expressed their solidarity with the people of Ashraf and all the other Iranians around the world that have been conducting a hunger strike in a bid to raise awareness and pressure UN secretary-general to provide UN protection at the camp.

Amnesty International said the 36 Iranian residents believed to have been detained by authorities were at risk of being forcibly returned to Iran.

Amnesty said the detainees were taken to a police station inside the camp and reported to have been beaten and tortured before being transferred to the town of al-Khalis, 25 kilometres to the south, with no access to lawyers or medical care.

“Amnesty International has urged the authorities not to forcibly return any Camp Ashraf resident or other Iranians to Iran, where they would be at risk of torture and other serious human rights violations,” it said in a statement released this week.

“The organisation has called upon the Iraqi authorities to investigate all allegations of torture and beatings and to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Early this week human rights lawyers in Washington urged the Pentagon to take control of the camp and prevent further attacks and rights violations.

They claim that the Obama administration has largely ignored the issue and consider it a sovereign Iraqi matter.

But a Pentagon spokesman said the US defense department had no jurisdiction to assume control of the camp under the new bilateral security agreement that Washington reached with Baghdad in late 2008.



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