Wednesday, 29 February 2012

110 MPs Urge UN Secretary General to Protect Iranian Dissidents

HUFF POST - David Amess 24 February 2012

A letter signed by 110 cross-party MPs and Peers was on Thursday delivered to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Lancaster House urging him to ensure United Nations protection for 3,400 Iranian dissidents in Camp Ashraf, Iraq.

The letter which was supported by senior Parliamentarians including Former Home Secretary Lord Waddington QC, former Labour Party chairman Lord Clarke of Hampstead, former House of Commons Speaker Baroness Boothroyd, LibDem deputy leader Lord Dholakia, Lord Carlile of Berriew QC (former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation), former Lord Advocate for Scotland Lord Fraser of Carmyllie QC, Sir Roger Gale MP, Stephen McCabe MP, Brian Binley MP, and Sir Bob Russell MP.

The Parliamentarians expressed "deep concern regarding the relocation of the first group of 400 residents of Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty", a former US base near Baghdad airport now a de facto prison used by Iraq to house the dissidents.

The MPs and Peers' letter said: "A group of 400 residents showed utmost flexibility and prepared themselves to move to Camp Liberty on 17 February. This was at a time when many basic necessities at the new camp were clearly lacking. This gesture of goodwill by these residents was responded to by the Iraqi government ordering its police at the new camp to be offensive and hostile."

"Iraqi forces in the presence of UN monitors prevented the residents from transferring medication and medical supplies, a generator, office equipment including chairs, tables and photocopiers, a water heater and hygiene products.

"Camp Liberty, contrary to UNAMI's 31 January statement, does not conform to international standards from the point of view of infrastructure. Upon arrival residents found that there was no electricity or water and its hygienic services were filthy and unusable.

"With Mrs Rajavi having convinced the residents to accept this risky transfer, the current conditions at the camp are totally unacceptable. We expect the United Nations, with the support of the US government and the European Union to make a clear stand against the limitations that the Iraqi government is imposing on the residents. The UN, US and EU must ensure the human rights of the residents are met. UNAMI cannot justify a stance which is clearly not neutral as a result of Iraqi pressure.

"We urge you firstly to ensure that the Iraqi police station and its forces leave the camp and are stationed outside the perimeter of it. Furthermore, you must guarantee the safety and well being of the residents by ensuring they have direct and free access to medical services and that their freedom of movement is secured. UNAMI must keep the gates of Camp Liberty open to reporters, lawyers and the families of the residents.

"In such circumstances there can be no further transfer of residents to Camp Liberty until such time as the current 400 residents at Camp Liberty have been safely transferred to third party states", the letter said.

David Amess Member of Parliament for Southend West and member of the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom

Sunday, 26 February 2012

MEK Women ; warriors and Resistance Fighters in a prison called “Camp Liberty”

An article by one of our contacts who is a researcher and anchor journlist as well as women's activist :S.Azad

The portrayal of women warriors have been the subject of history, mythology, culture, film, folklore and gender studies. It is time to unravel a real ongoing epic involving 21st century women warriors who have not only outwitted their past ancestors experience in facing cultural and psychological barriers which enchain them in their quest for the “good” but are at the forefront of changing the trend of social political evolution Humankind: The MEK.PMOI women.

In terms of Islamic history, breaking barriers for gender equality has always been the tradition of the Prophet himself;

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Iranian regime sentences man to eye gouging

Massoumeh Atayi’s lawyer said that a retribution sentence was issued in his client’s case [in which Atayi’s father in law threw acid on her face]. This is the second eye retribution sentence issued in cases related to acid attacks in the country’s courts.

“According to the verdict by the 17th branch of the Isfahan Penal Court, Hossein-Ali Hemat who was convicted in this case was sentenced to eye retribution and my client has to pay half of the blood money of the convict’s eye for the sentence to be carried out”, Alireza Mokhtari added…

“This verdict can be appealed during the next 20 days and if [no one] files for an appeal, it will become definite”, he added.

The court for Massoumeh Atayi’s father in law, who threw acid on his daughter in law’s face last August was held on January 31 in the 17th branch of the Isfahan Penal Court. (ISNA state-run News Agency – Feb. 20, 2012)

Camp Liberty: A Prison for 1000 Female Dissidents who Oppose the Iranian Mullahs

THE WIP - By Shahriar Kia February 20, 2012

It’s been five months since the 3400 Iranian dissidents of camp Ashraf, in Iraq, submitted their requests to UNHCR. But UNHCR has not yet begun its work to reconfirm the status of the residents of this camp as asylum seekers. Bowing to Iranian pressure and looking to pave the way for the slaughter of the residents, the Iraqi government has conditioned the start of this process to their relocation to a prison in Baghdad, ironically named as ‘Camp Liberty’.

Iraq claims that it only wants the Iranian refugees, including 1000 women, member of the main Iranian group opposing the mullahs in Iran, the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MeK), out of camp Ashraf and out of Iraq.

Contrary to Iraqi claims, not only is camp Liberty in no way ready to receive these refugees; the push to have the residents relocated is done with the intention of subjecting them to more pressure and as part of Iran’s plan to have Iraq do its dirty work and disintegrate its opposition.

Residents of camp Ashraf are members of the Iranian resistance and for the past 25 years they have been living in this camp as immigrants. In January 2009, and despite numerous warnings by the residents about the prospect of leaving them in the hands of the Iraqi government – which in itself was a clear breach of an agreement signed between the US government and the residents - the US relinquished its responsibilities to Iraq.

From the very outset, Iraq imposed a comprehensive, inhumane siege on camp Ashraf in addition to launching two full-fledged, callus assaults against the camp in July of 2009 and April 8, 2011 - leaving 47 residents dead, including 8 women, and more than 1000 injured, including many female residents. The objective was clear; either slaughter the residents or, at the very least, have them repatriated to Iran where they’ll, most certainly, be executed.

Soon after the bloody April 8 crackdown, the Iraqi Prime Minister, Noori al-Maliki set a deadline to have the residents expelled from Iraq or repatriated by December 31, 2011. Based on reports obtained by the Iranian resistance from Iran, the deadline was a conspiracy by Tehran and Baghdad to set the scene for another massacre at Ashraf and the complete destruction of the Iranian resistance.

Human rights and women’s rights organizations called for an international campaign in defense of camp Ashraf residents particularly 1000 women in the camp. Many members of both houses of the US congress, as well as, senior officials from the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, called on their government to honor its obligations and the agreement it has signed with each camp Ashraf resident; uphold its responsibility to protect their lives and to not close its eyes to a pending tragedy.

Here is one of the recent remarks by US and EU officials at the Paris International Conference on camp Ashraf –January 20, 2012.

The international campaign finally succeeded in forcing Noori Maliki to back down and extend his illegal deadline to May of 2012. Having accepted the plan proposed by the European parliament for resettlement in third countries, and to support the chances of a long-standing and peaceful solution, on August 16, 2011, residents of camp Ashraf submitted official requests to UNHCR for reconfirmation of their political asylum status and their eventual resettlement in third countries. But till this date, the process has been impeded by the Iranian regime, as well as, the Iraqi government and UNHCR has not been allowed to initiate its work.

The Iraqi government has barred UNHCR from beginning its work and has conditioned the start of the interviews to the relocation of residents to a new location which lacks essential international human rights standards.

Camp Liberty, a prison where camp Ashraf residents will face psychological torture.

The new place called Camp Liberty is supposed to be a 40 square KM standardized refugee camp but now its total area decreased into a half kilometer square meters and it’s surrounded by towering concrete walls.

The residents will not be permitted to travel outside of this encampment nor will they have access to their lawyers. There is no running water in the camp and the residents must purchase the water they need from outside sources. Their living quarters will consist of worn-out trailers used, years ago, to temporarily house US soldiers.

But most disheartening of all is the presence of Iraqi forces within the boundaries of the camp under the pretense of protecting the residents. These are the same forces which, on at least two occasions, participated in the violent assaults against camp Ashraf that resulted in the death of 47 residents.

In a clear breach of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed between head of UNAMI and the Iraqi government, the UNAMI outpost will be outside of the camp and as such the residents will not have direct, uninterrupted access and must be escorted by Iraqi armed forces. The UNAMI monitoring team and US embassy personnel can not enter the camp without prior knowledge and approval of the Iraqi government which is another violation of the MoU.

The question that has yet to be answered by the international community and the US, in particular, as it bears full responsibility for the current situation in Ashraf – concerns the status of the residents: are they, as UNHCR has officially declared, asylum-seekers or are they prisoners?

What is the true incentive behind the plan to relocate them to camp Liberty and who, but the Iranian regime, backs this plan? These are all questions which have remained unanswered.

At a time when residents of camp Ashraf have guns pointed at their heads and live under constant threat of death; applying pressure to relocate them, specially the 1000 women, to a new location which lacks minimum standards, means nothing but a sinister plan to forcibly relocate the residents and destroy the Iranian resistance.

At a time when the residents have announced, that as a goodwill gesture and to support prospects of a peaceful solution, the first group of 400 residents are prepared to be relocated to camp Liberty, all those who are pressuring the women and men of camp Ashraf to relocate before acceptable standards for such a relocation are met, should know that they are a party to this sinister plan and will be held accountable.

Surveillance antennas and eavesdropping towers in camp Liberty must be dismantled

Liberty residents and the Iranian Resistance strongly protest suppressive and police actions aimed at destruction of the opposition at the request of the Iranian regime.

Liberty-no. 9

NCRI - The scandalous conversion of Camp Liberty to a prison is becoming ever more clear day by day. Now it is quite clear why the Government of Iraq did not agree to the requests of 23 American Generals, Secretaries, former Governors, and prominent personalities, including Rudy Giuliani, who wanted to visit the camp at their own expense prior to relocating 400 Ashraf residents to Liberty.

1. In the technical report of the shelter expert dated January 30th, the area of Camp Liberty is stated to be 683,000 square meters. However, building of walls inside the camp has reduced the area by 83,000 square meters, rendering several of the useful buildings whose propagandized pictures were previously released, to lie outside the walls and not be usable by the residents.

2. There are no drinking water and no water for cleaning. On Tuesday, February 21st, the residents succeeded in filling up a tanker of water some 12 kilometers away and bring to the camp. Surprisingly, no fuel is provided for such efforts.

3. Refusing to empty the septic tanks and the rising of the level of septic, which is open in the camp area, has resulted in a highly non-sanitary environment.

4. The Iraqi side still refuses to permit hauling away of the trash that was piled in the camp and the residents collected yesterday and placed in the trash trucks.

5. Lack of electric power and the generators’ failure to function have been attributed in an appalling fabrication, to parts being stolen by residents.

6. On February 21st, a specialized medical appointment by a cancer patient resident at Liberty did not take place because the Iraqi officials were late for several hours, despite the fact that the appointment was made previously and the Iraqi officials were informed at the time. They showed up on Wednesday the 22nd to take the patient. This medical appointment is a specialized one and the patient cannot be called for it without prior preparations. The Cancer patient has written the details of the situation directly to UN Secretary General as she has been falsely accused of refusing to go for the visit.

7. During the 24 hours from 12:00 PM on Tuesday February 20th to 12:00 PM on Wednesday, Iraqi security forces armed with B.K.C. machine guns, Kalashnikovs, and side arms, marched more than 39 times within 20 meters from the residents’ trailers. They disturb residents’ tranquility, especially that of the women. In total, 150 armed forces with machine guns are allocated for 400 residents who are surrounded by concrete walls of 3.6 meter height (on average more than one armed force for every 3 residents.)

8. Surveillance cameras and tall eavesdropping towers are focused on conversations inside the trailers. Clearly, the conversations are subsequently delivered to the clerical regime ruling Iran in order for them to use for the arrest and execution of residents’ family members inside Iran. Surveillance antennas and eavesdropping towers have been installed within a 30-meter distance of the residents’ trailers. This is a telling example of the suppressive and police actions aimed at destruction of the opposition at the request of the Iranian regime (photos are attached.)

The collective sum of these outrageous and appalling actions, prompted the residents to write a petition to the UN Secretary General. Last month, the Secretary General declared 2012 the “Year of Prevention” pertaining to the principle to protect (RtoP).

In their letter to the Secretary General, the PMOI members at Liberty asked to be immediately returned to Ashraf.

At a symposium in New York regarding protection of Ashraf residents held on February 11, Judge Michael Mukasey , the former U.S. Attorney General, said that he resents what has been said about Liberty’s compliance with humanitarian and human rights standards even as a “prison”. He said:

"A prison, as tough a place as it is, is at least a place where both the prisoners and the guards are bound by rules. A prison is a place where we send people as punishment, not for punishment. But there is another kind of place by which Camp Liberty may be compared, a place where even the ironic name, Camp Liberty, makes you remember it, and that is a concentration camp. A place where people are sent to be broken in body and broken in spirit.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
February 22, 2012

Monday, 20 February 2012

Weekly Bulletin: 2/12-2/19

Human Rights Violations:

This week, the Iranian regime continued its suppression of religious minorities and arrested 10 Christians in a household prayer meeting, and detained a Christian priest in Karaj Prison. Eight Baha’is were also arrested in Mashhad.

In fear of the 25 Bahman protests and upcoming elections, the Iranian regime clamped down on satellite TVand blocked Internet access. As a result of the protests, Basiji forces arrested a large number of protesters.

This week in political prisoner news, the mother of a jailed journalist says she doesn’t know why her son was arrested, and isn’t getting any answers. Kouhyar Goudarzi has been imprisoned for 200 days now, and has recently been transferred to a Solitary Cell.

In other news, Iranian exiles have begun their relocation into a new site in Iraq.

400 Iran exiles reluctantly move to new Iraq home

18 2012 By LARA JAKES
BAGHDAD — Lugging clothes, tables and whatever else they were allowed to bring, roughly 400 members of an Iranian exile group reluctantly moved Saturday from their camp in northwestern Iraq to a deserted military base outside the capital in what they called a show of good faith that they eventually will be allowed to leave the country peacefully.

It was the first group to move of the more than 3,300 members of the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran who have lived at Camp Ashraf for three decades.


Iraq moves batch of Iranian dissidents from camp

Reuters - BAGHDAD - Sat Feb 18, 2012

Iraq evacuated an initial batch of 400 Iranian dissidents on Saturday from a base founded under Saddam Hussein, a first step towards expelling their entire group from Iraqi territory.

The People's Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI), a group that calls for the overthrow of Iran's clerical rulers, took refuge at Camp Ashraf, 65 km (40 miles) from Baghdad, during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. Ashraf now houses around 3,000 people.


After relocation of 400 Ashraf residents to Liberty Camp, UNAMI has responsibility for their well being and must guarantee the free access of journali

Press Release 18 February 2012

Upon the request of the Iranian opposition leader, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, 400 members of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran at Camp Ashraf have moved to Camp Liberty today. According to many independent observers, including the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, without freedom of movement, free access to medical services, ability to meet lawyers and without the Iraqi armed forces leaving Camp Liberty, Camp Liberty will be a prison for these 400 refugees. We commend Ashraf leadership for taking this risk and showing maximum flexibility to reach a peaceful solution to this crisis.

We are quite disturbed to hear that during the transfer, Iraqi authorities were creating problems, obstacles and panic for the residents such as preventing the residents to load some personal belongings like blankets etc. We were informed about the humiliating and inhuman treatment of the residents. They were meticulously searched by dogs and by the Iraqi forces, a process that took nearly 12 hours before they would be allowed to get into the buses.

We still believe, as my colleague Struan Stevenson, President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq has emphasized: “Clearly this transfer was unnecessary when the residents had already accepted the European Parliament's plan for relocation to third countries. They had each individually applied for asylum to the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees in August 2011 and had the Iraqi government permitted the Refugee status interview procedure to begin at that time, a significant number of them would have been relocated out of Iraq by now.”

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq-UNAMI has the main responsibility for the well being of the residents and must guarantee the free access of journalists, parliamentarians and lawyers. As a first step, the Iraqi police force must be moved out of the Camp; no one will be arrested under any pretext by Iraq otherwise the whole process will collapse; the residents should be permitted to take along their vehicles and their

movable property with no restrictions to Camp Liberty. The head of UNAMI, Ambassador Martin Kobler, should not keep imposing the inhuman conditions of Iraq on these defenceless refugees. We urge the UN Secretary General to consider these just criticisms and shortcomings of UNAMI.

The most urgent issue is for the UNHCR to determine the refugee status of the residents. We expect the EU Member States and the USA to help to resettle the residents as soon as possible. Since the area allocated for these refugees is very small and there is no freedom of movement, unless the police force is moved out, we strongly advice Ashraf leadership to send the next group to Liberty after these 400 are resettled in third countries.

Alejo Vidal Quadras
Vice-President of the European Parliament
President of the international committee “In Search of Justice” (ISJ)

International Committee of In Search of Justice (ISJ) enjoys the support of over 4,000 parliamentarians throughout the world