Although the announcement of the status of these individuals as POWs is of itself official recognition and affirmation of the enemy MKO’s active involvement in fighting against the coalition forces and thereby clearly defines the MKO army as a part of Saddam’s army, we believe that the undeniable culpability for war crimes and crimes against humanity should rest with the leaders of this cult who for over two decades have committed these crimes on their own behalf as well as on behalf of Saddam Hussein.
Association for the Support of Victims of Mojahedin-e Khalq / 24 July 2004
Open Letter to Kofi Annan following the announcement of POW status for MKO prisoners in Iraq
Mr Kofi Annan
Dear Mr Annan,
As you are no doubt aware, for some years now the Association for the Support of Victims of Mojahedin-e Khalq has made the demand that the individual members who are under the control of Massoud Rajavi’s cult and Saddam Hussein’s secret services, be subject to the scrutiny of international observers to ensure that their human rights are protected. This demand has become ever more urgent over the past few months as the Iraqi interim government has said it will expel the Mojahedin from Iraq.
You are also aware that in all correspondence with you as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the UNHCR, the only obstacles to helping these individuals has been the uncertainty of their legal status in Iraq and the failure of the American forces surrounding Ashraf camp to dismantle the internal command structure of the Mojahedin-e Khalq which kept the members trapped in the cult’s power.
Organisations which could rapidly help resolve this situation have stated verbally and in writing that on one side the uncertainty of the captives’ legal status and on the other side the limitations of their own mandates have prevented them from engaging in the resolution of this problem as long as the Mojahedin is operating as a group and that they do not have access to individual members without prejudice. They have suspended their active role until such a time that they are able to interview the individuals independently and freely so that they can offer appropriate help according to every individual’s circumstances.
Today we were informed with great joy that the Central Command of the Coalition Forces in Iraq has decided on the legal status of the detainees in Ashraf camp in Iraq. The announcement which was handed to the prisoners of the camp by the coalition forces accepts these individuals (about 3800 people) as prisoners of war under the terms set out by the Geneva Convention. The announcement also informs the prisoners that the office of the ICRC and the UNHCR have both been informed of this decision
Dear Mr Annan,
We, as an Association dedicated to the rescue of these individuals from the tyranny of this notorious terrorist cult, while welcoming this announcement by the Command Centre of the Coalition Forces in Iraq and the due clarification of the legal status of these detainees, would like to emphasise the following points:
1- Although the announcement of the status of these individuals as POWs is of itself official recognition and affirmation of the enemy MKO’s active involvement in fighting against the coalition forces and thereby clearly defines the MKO army as a part of Saddam’s army, we believe that the undeniable culpability for war crimes and crimes against humanity should rest with the leaders of this cult who for over two decades have committed these crimes on their own behalf as well as on behalf of Saddam Hussein. We have credible evidence that ordinary members of the Mojahedin had no information concerning the collaboration between Rajavi and Saddam, even during the fighting and the war. Indeed, some individuals were imprisoned in Ashraf camp prisons as well as Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad because of their discovery of and refusal to be involved in the criminal activities of Rajavi and Saddam.
2- Again, thanking the Central Command of the Coalition Forces in Iraq for its latest clarification and the announcement of POW status for the prisoners of Ashraf camp, we now see the opportunity for the families, friends and independent legal and/or other representatives to visit these individuals. Any obstacle put in the way of free and unfettered access by the families, friends and family lawyers without the presence of the cult’s agents and the pressure of MKO leaders, would be considered illegal and we will pursue such cases in Iraqi and international courts.
3- The small number of these individuals who have citizenship of other countries as well as individuals who can prove some family or other connection in western countries, and also the ones who wish to release themselves from the cult, if not having committed any criminal act and not charged, should be repatriated to their county of origin immediately. Overwhelming evidence shows that the majority of these people have been under physical and psychological pressure to stay in the camp to be used as the hostages of Rajavi to save him from prosecution in any court of justice.
4- Considering the announcement of POW status and considering the previous announcement declaring the illegality of all the different parts of Saddam’s army, and the due dismantlement of the remains of Saddam’s private army, we expect the ICRC and UNHCR to exert their power in observing that the total military and organisational command structure of the MKO as a military cult is dismantled so that individuals could be interviewed (or interrogated in the cases that they may have been charged) in a private place away from the pernicious influence of the cult leaders. From today and according to the laws and the Geneva convention, the responsibility of these individuals lies in the hands of the American forces. From today any physical or psychological pressure imposed on these people by the cult leaders would be the direct responsibility of the American Forces as well as the Defence ministry of the USA and any mistreatment of individuals by the cult leaders or others in Ashraf camp can be pursued as the failure of Americans in carrying their responsibilities.
From today, we will start a fresh program to arrange visits to these individuals through the auspices of the ICRC and UNHCR, in particular the many for whom we have evidence of mistreatment and torture. We will keep your office informed about the progress of these activities
On behalf of the Association for the Support of Victims of Mojahedin-e Khalq
The central office of UNHCR
The central office of ICRC
The central office of Amnesty International
The office of Human Rights Watch
The office of the Red Cross in Baghdad
The office of UNHCR in Baghdad
US State Department
US Defence ministry
Foreign and Commonwealth Office of Britain
Defence ministry of Britain
The embassy of USA in London
The Home ministry of Iraq
The Foreign ministry of Iraq
The office of the transitional government of Iraq in London
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