thanking the Central Command of the Coalition Forces in Iraq for its latest clarification and the announcement the status of the detainees in Ashraf camp, we now see the opportunity for the families, friends and independent legal and other representatives to visit these individuals. Any obstacles put in the way of free and unfettered access by the families, friends, lawyers and representatives 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.
Association for the Support of Victims of Mojahedin-e Khalq
For many years, members of the Association for the Support of Victims of Mojahedin-e Khalq have publicized the victimization of individual members of the MKO and have asked that all the members who had for years been 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 had become ever more urgent over the past few months after the Iraqi interim government said it will expel the Mojahedin from Iraq. In all correspondence with the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the UNHCR, the only obstacles to helping these individuals have 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. Organizations which could have rapidly helped 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 each detainee’s individual circumstances.
It is with great joy that we have received (so far unconfirmed) reports that the Central Command of the Coalition Forces in Iraq has at last decided on the legal status of the detainees in Ashraf camp in Iraq. The reports suggest that the pronouncement was made directly to the prisoners of the camp by the coalition forces which now accept these individuals (now about 3000 people) as protected under the terms set out by the Geneva Convention. The offices of the ICRC and the UNHCR have both been informed of this decision. The Association is determined to rescue the ordinary individual members from the tyranny of this notorious terrorist cult, and we welcome this announcement by the Command Centre of the Coalition Forces in Iraq and the due clarification of the legal status of these detainees. The following points should be made.
1 The announcement of the official status of these individuals and the consequent, inevitable dismantling of Saddam’s Private Army is recognition and affirmation that the MKO army was 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 the status of the detainees in Ashraf camp, we now see the opportunity for the families, friends and independent legal and other representatives to visit these individuals.
Any obstacles put in the way of free and unfettered access by the families, friends, lawyers and representatives 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 detainees 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. We believe that the ICRC is aware of this and will act accordingly.
4 Considering the announcement of official status and considering the previous announcement declaring the illegality of all the different parts of Saddam’s army, and the due dismant-lement 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 organizational command structure of the MKO as a military cult is dismantled so that individuals could be interview wed (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 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 Defense 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 the Americans in carrying out their responsibilities under the Geneva Convention.
From today, the Association for the Support of Victims of Mojahedin-e Khalq will start a fresh program to arrange visits to these individuals through the auspices of the ICRC and UNHCR, in particular to the many for whom we have evidence of mistreatment and torture.
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