House Committee Chairman Meets Hunger Strikers outside the White House, Voices Solidarity

9 09 2009

September 9, 2009 —
Washington, DC, Sep 9, 2009 — On day 42nd of an open-ended hunger strike outside the White House, Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, visited the Iranian-Americans on hunger strike, voicing solidarity with their cause. The hunger strike seeks the U.S. intervention for protection of 3,400 defenseless Iranian exiles in Camp Ashraf, Iraq.

In his brief remarks, Representative Filner, the Co-chair of the Iran Human Rights and Democracy Caucus in the House of Representatives, said that the issue of the protection of Camp Ashraf was of paramount importance to him. He told the hunger strikers that he had been in direct contact with the White House and the U.S. Department of State to ensure that those in Ashraf are protected.

Congressman Filner added that he will do everything to secure the early and safe release of 36 Ashraf residents taken hostage by the Iraqi regime.

Since July 28, when the Iraqi forces launched an unprovoked attack on Camp Ashraf, the families and supporters of Ashraf residents have been on a hunger strike in protest against the continuing siege of the camp and the U.S. inaction to prevent another attack on the camp. The attack has left 11 killed, 500 wounded and 36 abducted by the Iraqi forces. Many of the hunger strikers are in serious condition and some have already been to hospital.

Camp Ashraf is home to members of the main Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). Its 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.

In an open letter to President Barack Obama published last month, the US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents said “As the U.S. pursues an honorable military disengagement from Iraq, we hope that the rights of the people of Camp Ashraf and the pledges made to them by America are not sacrificed for the sake of expedience.”



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