US will keep to Iraqi withdrawal plan: Hill

10 09 2009
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Source: Reuters

By Susan Cornwell WASHINGTON, Sept 10 (Reuters) –  IRAN DISSIDENTS The United States is monitoring the status of Iranian dissidents who were arrested in Iraq in July when Iraqi security forces moved into an Iranian exile camp, Hill said. He said U.S. officials had sought and received assurances from Iraq that the 36 detainees would be treated humanely and not sent back to Iran.

“We have made it very clear to the Iraqi government, that we are interested in the well being of these people, the preservation of their human rights; that they should not be forcibly repatriated to Iran,” Hill said. Residents of Camp Ashraf near the Iranian border say the Iraqi government killed at least 7 people when security forces moved into the facility on July 28, an incident that raises concerns about the dwindling U.S. influence in Iraq. Thirty-six camp residents were arrested by Iraqi police on charges of rioting. As Hill spoke, some two dozen demonstrators wearing T-shirts that declared “Free Ashraf Hostages” sat quietly behind him in the House hearing room.

Camp Ashraf is home to the People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI) dissident group, considered a terrorist organization by the United States, Iraq and Iran. But the U.S. military had awarded the 3,500 camp residents protected status after they agreed to surrender weapons in 2004. They were protected by the U.S. military until the facility was transferred to Iraqi jurisdiction in January.


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