Iraq: Concern for detained Camp Ashraf residents
Index: MDE 14/024/2009
Amnesty International is urgently seeking information about 36 Iranian residents of Camp Ashraf who have been detained since Iraqi security forces seized control of the camp on 28 July 2009 and have been moved to an unknown location in Baghdad amid allegations that some or all of them have been beaten and tortured. According to Abdul Nassir al-Mehdawi, governor of Iraq’s Diyala province, quoted by Reuters press agency, “Their cases are being investigated now. They are being charged with inciting trouble. We will deal with them according to Iraqi law; we won’t send them back to Iran”. It remains unclear, however, whether the 36 have been allowed access to lawyers, contact with their families or any medical treatment that they need.
Amnesty International is urging the Iraqi authorities to disclose the whereabouts of the 36, to allow them immediate access to lawyers, to investigate, fully and impartially, allegations that they were tortured or beaten while held at a provisional detention facility near Camp Ashraf before their transfer to Baghdad, and to ensure that they are being treated humanely.
Amnesty International is also continuing to urge the Iraqi authorities to establish an immediate, independent inquiry into allegations that Iraqi security forces used excessive force when taking control of Camp Ashraf last week. According to unofficial sources, at least eight camp residents were killed and many others injured. ‘Ali al-Dabbagh, the spokesperson for the Iraq government, has acknowledged that seven camp residents were killed but said that “five of them threw themselves in front of Iraqi police vehicles” and that two others were shot by other Iranians when they sought to leave the camp. He said that two members of the Iraqi security forces were also killed.
Camp Ashraf, situated about 60km north-east of Baghdad, has hosted some 3,400 members or supporters of thePeople’s Mojahedeen Organization of Iran (PMOI), an Iranian opposition organization, since the 1980s. They were formerly under the protection of US forces in Iraq but in recent months they have come under increasing pressure from the Iraqi authorities to relocate to other parts of Iraq or go abroad.