Families and Relatives of Camp Ashraf Residents Appeal to the Conscience of Humanity

8 09 2009

We, the undersigned family members and relatives of the residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq, are devastated by the atrocities committed by the Iraqi and Iranian governments at Ashraf, located 40 miles north of Baghdad. Inhabited by 3,500 unarmed and defenseless Iranian dissidents, Ashraf was the target of barbaric attacks by Iraqi security forces, in coordination and complicity with elements of Iran’s terrorist Qods Force. More than a dozen people were killed, 500 injured some critically, and 36 people kidnapped, some of whom are in need of urgent medical care. We appeal to humanity to help us protect and save the lives of our loved ones.

We appeal to all freedom-loving Americans, who regard human dignity, liberty, and dissidence as sacred universal values and rights (rights we all enjoy under the Constitution of the United States), to write to the President of the United States, their Congressional representatives, and particularly to the Departments of Defense and State, to demand U.S. protection of Camp Ashraf’s residents, until such time as a qualified international force under US supervision is positioned at the camp.

The following is a brief on this violent attack, about which we had repeatedly warned over the past couple of years after learning that the US and coalition forces who had been responsible for the protection of Camp Ashraf were planning to transfer this task to Iraqi forces. We provided credible information to news organizations, substantiated by respected human rights agencies, that another Srebrenica was in the making, if appropriate measures were not taken by the US government and other relevant humanitarian organizations.

On Tuesday, July 28 2009, Iraqi forces stormed Camp Ashraf. The next day, AFP reported 11 had been killed in the attack, citing an Iraqi official. Camp residents reported 12 killed and more than 400 injured. Thirty-six residents had been forcibly removed and taken to an unknown location by Iraqi forces. Some of the hostages had been critically wounded and were in need of urgent medical attention.

On July 30, the Washington Post quoted residents as saying that Iraqi troops used fire hoses, pepper spray, sonic grenades and riot shields to plough through hundreds of residents, and Humvee-armored vehicles to chase people down. Some residents had received multiple bullet wounds. The horrific attack was welcomed by the Iranian regime, who called it “late but admirable” (Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2009).

In 2003, in exchange for their disarmament, the U.S. military granted each of Ashraf’s residents “protected person” status under the Fourth Geneva Convention, guaranteeing that they would be protected from harm or forcible transfer to a country where they might face persecution. Those guarantees were violated on July 28.

When the protection of Camp Ashraf was transferred to Iraqi forces in January, the Iraqi government sent written assurances to the United States, promising to treat Ashraf’s residents humanely and according to the International law. The brutal attack demonstrates that such promises by the Iraqi government are not credible and that the residents’ lives will remain in danger as long as Iraqi forces hold control over Camp Ashraf.

Many in the international community interpret the attack as kowtowing by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government to the Iranian regime, currently under extreme pressure as people in Iran have taken to the streets to demand their basic rights. (Wall Street Journal, July 30, The Guardian, July 29, 2009). The fact that the United States stood by, allowing this atrocity, is shocking.

We demand practical and meaningful steps from the U.S. government to resolve this crisis, and ask for the fulfillment of the following conditions:

1. The release of all 36 residents taken captive by Iraqi forces;

2. Withdrawal of Iraqi forces from the grounds of Camp Ashraf;

3. The immediate protection of Camp Ashraf by U.S. forces until an international force under U.S. supervision takes over this task;

4. Free and unfettered access by lawyers and representatives of international human rights organizations and the press to Ashraf (they have been denied visits for the past seven months);

5. In that US forces have complete control over Iraqi air-space, we demand that US forces prevent armed Iraqi helicopters from flying over Camp Ashraf to intimidate its inhabitants; and

6. Free flow of food, supplies, medicine and medical teams, in greater quantities and numbers, to provide the residents with badly needed provisions.

Iranian-American families and
relatives of Camp Ashraf residents

Signatures:

1. Hajar Mojtahedzadeh
2. Kaveh Jafarnejad
3. Amir Rafiei
4. Ali Sakhai
5. Ali Yousefi
6. Afagh Namvar
7. Mahnaz Taghavi
8. Maliheh Salehyar
9. Robab Baraie
10. Simin Boorchi
11. Amir Emadi
12. Zahra Amanpour
13. Amene Amanpour
14. Mehran Ebrahimi
15. Flora Ebrahimi
16. Pouya Bolandmartabeh
17. Tara Mohammadi
18. Zolal Habibi
19. Maryam Fakhar
20. Rashid Besharat
21. Shahla Afshari
22. Fatemeh Moaveni
23. Fahimeh Moaveni
24. Melissa Esmailzadeh
25. Mohsen Esmailzadeh
26. Parviz Yazdanpanah
27. Ensieh Yazdanpanah
28. Hamid Yazdanpanah
29. Somayeh Yazdanpanah
30. Farzaneh Yazdanpanah
31. Ali Moridi
32. Nima Moridi
33. Pooya Moridi
34. Aria Moridi
35. Fariba Barghi
36. MajidBarghi
37. Payam Barghi
38. Nazi Barghi
39. Parvin Jafarnejad
40. Kaveh Jafarnejad
41. Mitra Sohrabi
42.Sadat Mousavi
43. Fred Dastmalchi
44. Kim Dastmalchi
45. MeaganDastmalchi
46. Matthew Dastmalchi
47. Ali Moradi
48. Nasrin Seifi
49. Hamid Azimi
50. Majad Saatchi
51. Azita Saatchi
52. Sala’ar Saatchi
53. Ali Asghar Tasslimi
54. Susan Tasslimi
55. Azadeh Tasslimi


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