PMOI calls on Pope Benedict XVI for help

22 09 2009
Published: Sept. 21, 2009 at 6:31 PM

BAGHDAD, Sept. 21 (UPI) — Members of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran approaching their second month of a hunger strike in Iraq called on Pope Benedict XVI to intervene on their behalf.

Iraqi forces stormed the Camp Ashraf enclave of the PMOI on July 28 following the withdrawal of U.S. forces to their combat bases under the terms of a bilateral security pact with Baghdad.

At least 10 residents of the camp have died from wounds suffered during the military raid.

The 36 members of the PMOI entering their 55th day of a hunger strike as of Monday called on Pope Benedict XVI to “take all appropriate measures” to help those suffering from “injustice and oppression.”

“We would want you to ask the Iraqi government release us and end to this illegal kidnapping and to provide assurance for security of lives of the 3,400 residents of Ashraf,” a letter to the pope reads.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh has denied the claims made by PMOI members, saying the July operation was a controlled measure meant to provide stability in the enclave.

The PMOI is labeled as a terrorist organization by the United States, Iraq and several other nations, though its European designation was rescinded. The group surrendered to U.S. forces following the 2003 invasion in exchange for pledges of security.



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