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ASHRAF MONITOR

Volume 1, Issue 31

News about the Looming Humanitarian Crisis for Camp Ashraf Residents

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

 

 


"Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs.”

Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention

 

“In no circumstances shall a protected person be transferred to a country where he or she may have reason to fear persecution for his or her political opinions or religious beliefs.”

Article 45 of the Fourth Geneva Convention

 

 

US Congressman Lacy Clay draws attention to Camp Ashraf residents
NCRI Website

May 17, 2009
NCRI – The US congressman, Hon. William. Lacy Clay of Missouri, in a speech at the House of Representatives on Thursday, May 14, 2009 drew the attention of his colleagues to the recent resolution adopted by the European Parliament on the rights of residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq... Report by the Congressional Record, May 14, 2009, follows:

 

Mr. CLAY: Madam Speaker, as we endeavor to end the war in Iraq, and to prevent any further military action in that region, I want to call attention to a resolution adopted by the European parliament on April 24, 2009. This resolution addresses Camp Ashraf which is located in Iraq about 50 miles from the Iranian border.

Approximately 3,000 Iranian exiles are now residing at the Camp; these individuals have not been involved in the war and signed agreements with the U.S.-led Multi-National Force regarding their status in accordance with International Humanitarian Law.

Unfortunately, Iraqi officials have allowed the Iranian clerical regime to pressure those residing at Camp Ashraf and human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, have expressed concern for their safety and well being.

The European Parliament resolution urges the Iraqi government to uphold the human rights of those living at Camp Ashraf. I share this sentiment and urge my colleagues to review the full text of the resolution enacted by the European Parliament...  Read More

 

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Iraqi committee expresses solidarity with Camp Ashraf residents
NCRI Website

May  24, 2009
NCRI - The Iraqi Committee in Defense of Ashraf, which is made up of Iraqi political and tribal figures, lawmakers, and academics, released a statement expressing solidarity with the residents of Ashraf, an Iraqi news website reported on May 22...

In its statement, the committee referred to a European Parliament resolution passed in support of Ashraf on April 24, describing it as an exemplary international declaration in legal and humanitarian relations with Ashraf, and called on the Iraqi government to implement the articles therein. The following is part of the text of the committee’s statement, published by the Iraqi News Age
ncy:

“In its plenary session in Strasbourg on April 24, 2009, the European Parliament unanimously passed an important resolution calling for the guaranteeing of Ashraf’s protection, prohibition on any sort of displacement of Ashraf residents, and ensuring all of their rights in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention and the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

The adoption of this resolution was a victory for justice and rule of law, and an important human rights feat, neutralizing the plots and preparations aimed at triggering the occurrence of a human catastrophe. This motion demonstrated that the international community is not prepared to bow to the religious fascism’s blackmail to violate the rights of defenseless individuals using hollow justifications. This resolution also provided the international community with an acceptable precedent to respect law, justice, and humanitarian values.

We, the Iraqi Committee in Defense of Ashraf, join the European Parliament, which represents more than 500 million people of that continent, and also join millions of honorable Iraqis, in urging the Iraqi government to respect this resolution, take practical steps in implementing its articles, and end the siege on Ashraf residents.

The Iraqi Committee in Defense of Ashraf needs the help of all freedom-loving and honorable people to obtain this humanitarian objective, and through this humanitarian call, we ask everyone to help the residents of Ashraf.”... Read More

 

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Arrest, torture and pressure against families of Camp Ashraf residents
NCRI Press Release

May 25, 2009
Shamsoddin Mehdizadeh, 60, father of three Ashraf residents, has been arrested along with his daughter, son-in-law, and their 3-month-old baby
NCRI - According to reports from Iran, on May 13, 2009, agents of the mullahs’ Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) raided the house of Mr. Shamsoddin Mehdizadeh, 60, father of three residents of Camp Ashraf in Iraq. During the raid, MOIS agents confiscated his personal belongings and arrested him. Also arrested on that day during the attacks were Mr. Mehdizadeh’s daughter, Monir, her husband, Mr. Ali Afshani, and the couple’s 3-month-old baby, Amirhessam. They were all taken to an undisclosed location and the family’s attempts to discover their whereabouts have not been successful.

It should be reminded that the fate of other relatives of Ashraf residents, who were arrested and taken to the notorious Ward 209 of Evin prison on February 20, 2009, after MOIS agents violently raided their houses in Tehran, also remains unknown. Despite the passing of three months since their arrest, a period marked by constant psychological and physical torture, the status of all those arrested, including Ms. Fatemeh (Houri) Ziai, Ms. Mahsa Naderi, and Messrs Hamed Yazarlou, Ehsan Erfani, and Mohsen Tarlani, remains unresolved. Mohsen Naderi, Ms. Mahsa Naderi’s father, is being interrogated in Ward 8 of Evin prison by one of the regime’s henchmen identified as Sheikhan.

Mr. Hamed Yazarlou’s brother, Hood Yazarlou, a 21-year-old student who was sentenced to three years in prison for going to Ashraf to visit his relatives, was transferred on May 23 to a ward allocated to dangerous prisoners in the Gohardasht prison in Karaj (western Tehran). His mother, Ms. Nazila Dashti, 49, has also been imprisoned at Evin prison on similar charges.

Separately, the mullahs’ Judiciary has issued unjust rulings against other arrested relatives of Ashraf residents, thereby placing more pressure on them. On May 11, Ms. Kobra Banazadeh Amirkhizi, a 56-year-old mother, was sentenced to 5 years in prison on charges of acting against national security and conducting activities in support of the the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). Ms. Sedigheh Falahatnezhad, has also been sentenced to 8 years in prison on similar charges.

Ms. Amirkhizi and Ms. Falahatnezhad are some of the Ashraf residents’ relatives, who despite having official passports and visas, planned to travel to Iraq to visit their families in Ashraf, but were arrested on January 16 along with 18 others at the Tehran airport after MOIS agents attacked and beat them, eventually transferring them to Ward 209 of Evin. These prisoners have been subjected to continuing psychological and physical torture. Ms. Amirkhizi is on the brink of losing sight in one of her eyes due to the imposed strains... Read More

 

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Three years of prison for visiting family member in Camp Ashraf
NCRI Website

May 20, 2009
NCRI- Mrs. Nazila Dashti, was sentenced to three years in prison in Iran only for visiting her sister in Ashraf City [Camp Asharf] after 25 years, said her husband, Dr. Hani Yazarlou in an Interview with Persian language Voice of America TV channel on Monday.

Hamed and Hood, two sons of Mr. Yazarlou are currently in jail in Iran. “We have not heard about my elder son, Hamed, since he was arrested on February 20 and his family have not been allowed to contact him,” Dr. Yazarlou said. “ There are still no reports about his condition,” he added.

“On February 20, When they took them [Hood and her mother] I asked the agents why they were taking them, agents replied, ‘do not know, we were told to arrest them’,” Mr. Yazarlou said.

Mr. Hamed Yazarlou, an aeronautics and space engineering student, although was accepted by Amir Kabir University to do his PhD, he had been banned two years in a row from continuing his studies.

Hood was previously sentenced to three years of prison by the Iranian regime’s judiciary and is currently in ward 8 of Evin Prison... Read More

 

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56 year-old mother sentenced to 5 years of prison
NCRI Website

May 16, 2009
NCRI - According to reports from the women's ward in Evin prison, Kobra Banazadeh Amirkhizi, 56, was sentenced to five years of prison and exile to Gohardasht Prison in Karaj by the 28th branch of the mullahs’ judiciary.

Ms. Kobra Banazadeh Amirkhizi, who had suffered from bleeding in one of her eyes, is in serious danger of losing her eyesight. She had been denied medical treatment in Evin prison.

Ms. Amirkhizi, from a distinguished family in Tehran that has had a number of its members executed by the mullahs’ regime, is mother to a resident of Camp Ashraf in Iraq, where some 3,500 members of the main Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

She was sentenced on May 11 by Moqseyi aka Naserian in the 28th branch of the so-called Revolutionary Court. Naserian was a member of the "death committee" responsible for the massacre of political prisoners in 1988.

Ms. Kobra Banazadeh Amirkhizi was among family members of Ashraf residents who on Friday afternoon, January 16, 2009, were arrested at Tehran airport on their way to Iraq to visit their relatives in Ashraf. The majority of those arrested were women between 60 to 80 years of age, and have been violently beaten by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

The arrested families were placed in solitary confinement in Evin prison. Their homes also were raided and searched by the regime’s suppressive forces. Their belongings were seized and even their children were threatened by armed men... Read More

 

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Canadian Rights Activists: Violation of rights of Camp Ashraf residents must end
NCRI Website

May 16 2009
NCRI - Hon. David Kilgour, former Canadian minister and human rights activist, said on Thursday in Geneva: “The human rights violations against Camp Ashraf residents must stop immediately.” David Matas, the renowned Canadian lawyer, said that we were determined to prevent human rights violations against residents of Ashraf with the assistance of international human rights organizations.

Camp Ashraf located northeast of Baghdad is home to 3,500 members of the main Iranian opposition, The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK/PMOI). In recent months, the Iranian regime has pressured Iraqi officials to expel Ashraf residents.

Hon. Kilgour and Matas spoke in a rally by Iranian exiles across from the United Nations European Headquarters in Geneva on Thursday. The protesters, a number of them with relatives in camp Ashraf called on the Iraqi government to respect the rights of camp residents in accordance with international conventions.

David Kilgour defended the legal rights of Ashraf residents and referred to opinion presented by the renowned British Jurist, Michael Wood and said that Displacement of Camp Ashraf residents was illegal. He added that their forced displacement violated the Article 7 of statute of the International Criminal Court.

In his speech, David Matas reiterated the dangers faced by Ashraf residents. He said that a number of international organizations were dealing with this problem and he together with his colleagues were working closely with them to put an end to the violations of rights of Ashraf residents... Read More

 

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About Humanitarian Crisis for Iranian Dissidents and their Families In Camp Ashraf

Nearly 3,500 members of Iran’s main opposition, the People’s Mojahedin (PMOI/MEK), residing in Camp Ashraf in Iraq, are faced with a humanitarian crisis. 

 

Tehran has put the Iraqi government under tremendous pressure to take over the protection of Camp Ashraf from the US-led Multinational Force-Iraq.  Under current circumstance in Iraq, such action would be in violation of the 4th Geneva Convention and International Humanitarian Law. Since 2004, Ashraf residents have been formally recognized as “Protected Persons“ under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

 

Ashraf Residents are expatriates holding dual nationality or refugee status of various Western countries. Their families and relatives are greatly worried for their loved ones in Ashraf.

 

 

International Humanitarian Law Obligate U.S. to Provide Continued Protection for Camp Ashraf Residents in Iraq
On July 2, 2004, the  United States formally recognized members of the PMOI in Camp Ashraf as “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention. 

 

Both the U.S. and Iraq are parties to all four 1949 Geneva Conventions.

Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention specifies that:

“Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs […]”.

Article 45 of the Fourth Geneva Convention specifies that:

“In no circumstances shall a protected person be transferred to a country where he or she may have reason to fear persecution for his or her political opinions or religious beliefs.“

 

Under the present circumstances in Iraq, the U.S. is the only party qualified and capable of ensuring Camp Ashraf residents’ safety and security under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The U.S. forces must continue to protect Ashraf residents as long as US forces are in Iraq.
 

 

About the U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents:

The U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR) was established in December of 2003 by families and relatives of residents of Camp Ashraf. The purpose of the Committee is to ensure the safety and security of those Iranians and others living in Camp Ashraf. The Committee will defend the proposition that the protections of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as of other treaties and customary international law, must be applied to the Iranians in Iraq. For more information please visit: www.usccar.org

 

About Ashraf Monitor

Ashraf Monitor newsletter is a compilation of  news and commentaries about the developing humanitarian crisis for nearly 3,500 members of Iran's main opposition, the People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in Camp Ashraf, Iraq.  Ashraf Monitor is compiled and distributed by the US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents (USCCAR).

 


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U.S. COMMITTEE FOR CAMP ASHRAF RESIDENTS

2020 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, # 195, Washington, DC 20006-1811

Web: www.USCCAR.org
E-Mail: info@USCCAR.org
Phone: 202-640-1947