نسخه فارسي   |   Shqipëria

Camp Ashraf

Camp Ashraf (45)

History of Ashraf City

Name and location
Camp Ashraf, or Ashraf City as it was widely called, was home to approximately 3,500 members of the main Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). The city is located in one of Iraq’s largest provinces, Diyala, and is approximately 80km northeast of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. It is 70km to the east of the Iran-Iraq border.
Upon the PMOI’s move to Iraq, the organization set up a number of bases along the Iran-Iraq border. What is now known as Ashraf City was one of those bases.
Ashraf City took its name from Ashraf Rajavi, a well known political prisoner during the time of the Shah. She was amongst the last group of political prisoners released from the Shah’s prisons in 1979.


Building the Camp
In 1986, Ashraf City was an approximately 40 square kilometer piece of barren land in a dry desolate desert. Only a handful of deserted buildings were standing and there were no facilities, paved roads, lamp posts or running water. However, by the toil, sweet and blood of its residents, it soon developed into a cultured, tidy and productive city. The residents built up squares, beautiful and well-maintained gardens, recreational facilities, giant Halls, meeting halls, air conditioned apartments, workshops and paved roads sided with tall trees. They established a well-equipped hospital, power plant and water purification plant. The PMOI pumped water from a Tigris offshoot 30 kilometers away from the camp and provide water to more than 20 thousand Iraqi inhabitants en rout to Ashraf.


Invasion of Iraq
During the US invasion of Iraq in April 2003, the PMOI / residents of Ashraf announced loudly and clearly that they will stand neutral, not engaging in war and therefore disclosed the coordinates of all their bases, through members of the British Parliament and the US Congress, to the United Nations, as well as the governments of the United Kingdom and the United States. Nevertheless, as part of an agreement reached between the US and UK governments and the Iranian regime, the Coalition forces carried out bombings of the PMOI, killing more than 50 with scores of inured and causing significant physical destruction of the PMOI bases. Ashraf sustained enormous damage. These attacks, killing non-combata were clearly breach of international law and culminated in war crime.


“Protected” Status recognised
Following an agreement in May 2003, the PMOI weapons and Ashraf were placed under the Coalition forces control in return for the Coalition to protect Ashraf. On 2 July 2004, the Commander of the Multi-National Forces-Iraq affirmed that the United States had recognized the ‘protected persons’ status of the individuals at Ashraf City under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The illegal hand over, begining of attacks
On February 20, 2009, even though the residents strongly rejected their file being handed over to the Iraqi government, knowing the nature of al-Maliki and his allegiance to the Iranian regime, yet, the US administration transferred the control of Camp Ashraf to the the al-Maliki government in breach of non-refulement principle. That was the pivotpoint where all miseries commenced. Subsequently, the residents of Ashraf faced several minor attacks and two brutal deadly attacks in July 2009 and April 2011, which resulted in numerous deaths and scores of injured and damages.
Forced Eviction of the residents
Following these deadly attacks, the Iraqi Government stated its intention to close Camp Ashraf by the end of 2011. On September 13, 2011 the UNHCR declared the residents to be “asylum seekers under international law,” which entitled them “to benefit from basic protection of their security and well-being.” The UNHCR requested the al-Maliki government to extend its deadline. The then Special Representative of UN Secretary General for Iraq, Martin Kobler initiated a campaign in support of al- Maliki government’s forced eviction of the PMOI memebrs from Ashraf.
On the other hand, at the behest of the Iranian regime, al-Maliki government supported by the Martin Kobler, tried to terrify the residents in order to oust them from Ashraf eventually, setting several ultimatums and claiming that the patience of the Iraqi government is running out!
On December 25, 2011 Martin Kobler, and the Iraqi government signed Memorandum of Understanding, without the residents’ knowledge, forcing them to leave Ashraf to Camp Liberty. Thus, in February 2012, a forcible eviction rather than a consensual relocation started.

Property issue
Within six months, approximately 3,100 of the residents were moved from Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty. 100 residents remained behind at Ashraf to address the issue of property estimated more than five hundred million dollars. This was based on a quadrilateral agreement between the residents, UNAMI and Iraqi government, with support of the US, in which the protection of the residents was guaranteed.

1st Septemebr massacre, betrayed assurances
Despite promises assurances to protect the remaining residents, at dawn on September 1, 2013, Iraqi forces affiliated to the “Golden Division” (Special forces of the Iraqi government nick named “Dirty Division”) entered the camp, slaughtering 52 residents in a brutal manner. The assailants took 7 as hostages, 6 of whom were women and blew up buildings and vehicles on their way out.
Yet, the situation was very tense. The Iraqi forces threated to kill the survivors. On September 5, the Deputy SRSG, Ambassador Buzstine, came up with a joint plan dubbed “Security Arrangements in Camp Liberty” addressing the relocation of the survivors to camp Liberty. In return, the Iraqi government would guarantee safety and security of the residents and allow them to sell their property left behind in Ashraf. A day later, Ms. Elizabeth Jones, the then-U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, in a letter to Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, supported the above plan and wrote that if the residents accept this plan “The United Nations will help facilitate the safeguarding of the property at Ashraf through your retention of a trusted local security firm. The U.S. Embassy will do its utmost to support these efforts”.
Based on these guarantees, the last group of residents left Ashraf. However, in practice, none of the promises were kept and the residents have been unable to sell a penny of their assessments. The Iraqi government assigned the murderers of Ashraf residents in charge of Camp Liberty under the guise of “Camp management”. As a result, the residents are yet challenging an inhumane siege under prison-like conditions at Camp Liberty.

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28 July 2009 attack

28 July 2009 attack (3)

When the U.S. handed over control of Camp Ashraf on February 20, 2009 to the al-Maliki Government, it stated that it had received “full assurances” that the Iraqis would provide for the safety and security of the Residents. However, the Iraqi forces loyal to al-Maliki attacked Ashraf in July 2009, April 2011 and September 2013 which resulted in numerous deaths, scores of injured and seven abducted.
In July 2009 the Iraqi government deployed its armed forces around Camp Ashraf under the pretext of establishing a police station inside the Camp. Three months earlier, the Iraq’s National Security Advisor, Muwaffaq al-Rubaie who was in charge of Camp Ashraf revealed the purpose of this attack in a TV interview by saying that, “We want to close this file right today and not tomorrow. We want to close up this issue as soon as possible… Iraqi security forces will enter the camp gradually and will set up control posts and will run patrols and will start searching, and then they will launch attacks.” (Al-Furat Television, April 1, 2009)
At last on July 28, 2009 around 3:30-4:00pm, hundreds of Iraqi security forces (including police officers and army forces) gathered at the three gates leading into Camp Ashraf (East, North and Lions’ Gates) and staged an assault on the camp. They used “Humvees” and “bulldozers” to destroy fences and walls around the camp, recklessly moving in all directions at high speeds and targeting crowds of residents. The Iraqi forces, on foot, armed with guns, batons, some with nails, metal rods, cricket bats, chains, sickles, axes, teargas, sound grenades and water cannons, broke into the camp and attacked hundreds of unarmed residents. At some point, the Iraqi armed forces opened fire on the residents. According to USF-I eyewitness accounts, the attack was extremely violent and lasted for hours, ceasing sometimes after nightfall. The following morning, July 29, the Iraqi armed forces returned to the camp at around 10:15am and gathered at Tulip Square, near the Camp’s water plant. They again attacked the residents in the same manner and with the same weaponry used the day before. At FOB Grizzly -US Army’s base - the USF-I, Task Force 134, silently watched events. In addition to the Iraqi armed forces permanently based around Camp Ashraf, the other participants in the attack were army units from Baghdad, police units from Diyala province and Iraqi army Special Forces from the notorious 56th Brigade under the command of the Prime Minister. Students from a police academy, located two miles away from Ashraf, also participated in the attack.
The Camp Ashraf ambulance was shot at several times during the attack as PMOI doctors in the camp tried to take the wounded to the Ashraf hospital. During the fact finding mission, UNAMI examined the ambulance riddled with bullets holes.
During attack, once the residents had been overwhelmed, the Iraqi armed forces went on a looting spree, taking goods belonging to the residents such as generators, air conditioners, fans, tables, chairs and anything and everything of use for their poorly furnished base outside Ashraf.
Before the sunset of July 29, 11 residents had fell victims for the brutal attack, over thousands were injured and 36 residents were taken hostages by Iraqi forces. Many of those injured were in a critical state. Two of them died several months later due to severe injuries left from the attack and a medical blockade imposed on the residents.
According to Amnesty International, video of the attack demonstrate that Iraqi troops “deliberately driving military vehicles –such as Humvees and Rios “military truck”- into crowds of Camp Residents.”

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8 April 2011 attack

8 April 2011 attack (4)

8 April 2011 Attack
During the days leading to 8 April 2011, several battalions of the Iraqi army and dozens of armored personnel carriers, Humvees, bulldozers and other engineering vehicles had been deployed around Camp Ashraf’s perimeter fence. The Iraqi government had claimed that the issue is merely replacement of forces. However, it seemed the new force was in fact reinforcing the existing battalion which remained in place. All indications pointed to an imminent attack.
The US Embassy was fully aware of the situation; further attack against Ashraf was in prospect and there was only a matter of when. Thus, the USF-I had allocated a small contingent force based in FOB Warhorse, to move to Ashraf on daily monitoring missions.
However, oddly, in the evening of 7 April 2011, the USF-I force suddenly left the camp. At 04.45 a.m. of the following morning, 8th April, the attack commenced. 2,500 heavily armed troops and over 140 armored vehicles invaded Ashraf and opened fire on the 3,400 residents.
An attempt by the UN leadership in Iraq at 9 a.m. to convince Faleh al-
Fayadh, the NSA, failed. He said to the UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General in Iraq who was insisting to stop the attack that nothing was happening in Ashraf and the UN had merely been alarmed by false rumors.
By the end of the day, the picture became clearer. Under the command of General Ali Gheidan , commander of Iraqi ground forces, the three Iraqi battalions moved into Ashraf as dawn broke. They used teargas and smoke and stun grenades. The soldiers opened fire and snipers were deployed to shoot dead any residents who were trying to film the attack by their cameras. Humvees and armored personnel vehicles were driven at high speed into crowds of residents, crushing them under the wheels. By evening, 34 residents, among them eight women, were either gunned down or crushed by military vehicles. Over 300 residents of the camp had been seriously injured and the Iraqi authorities were preventing them from accessing proper medical attention. Two other residents died later due to severe injuries.

Gheidan was commander of the ground forces and was later responsible for crushing the Sunnis’ peaceful rallies. During the ISIS attack on Mosul, he disgracefully ran away and was later dismissed for his cowardice.

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Slaughter of September 1, 2013

Slaughter of September 1, 2013 (3)

100 residents remained under agreement
In August 2012, under the quadrilateral agreement of the Ashraf residents, UN, Iraqi government and U.S., 100 residents had remained behind in Camp Ashraf to guard and negotiate the safe disposal of residents’ movable and immovable property, worth approximately 550 millions of dollars. Lawyers employed by the Ashraf residents to deal the sale of their properties were threatened by al-Maliki government and scared off. Despite many efforts by the residents to bring international lawyers to tackle the issue and enter into bilateral agreement with a British company, the Iraqi government left all efforts futile and barred any deal to be reached.


Blood Cold Massacre
In late August, two weeks preceding the slaughter, Iraqi authorities cut off supplies of water and electricity to the camp. The night before the attack, a convoy of vehicles had approached the Camp from the north, among them vehicle belonging to General Jamil al-Shameri, police Commander of the Diyala Province. Five hours later, under clear and sunny skies at dawn on September 1, 2013, the Iraqi government carried out a blood cold massacre against the 100 remained residents in Ashraf.
At 5:15am, four residents were keeping watch at Ashraf’s main gate, Lion’s Gate, as a first group of attackers approached the Camp. Approximately 120 men dressed in military uniforms and carrying AK-47s fitted with silencers and loaded with armor-piercing bullets, pistols, and explosives, engaged in a coordinated assault against Camp Ashraf. For two hours, the assailants scoured the Camp, killing 52 and destroying millions of dollars in property. Every individual killed was shot in the head or neck, and many were handcuffed before being executed. Nine seriously injured residents were carried to the camp clinic by their colleagues, but were then executed by Iraqi military personnel on their hospital beds. The assailants seized seven hostages—six women and one man—and forcibly transported them outside of the Camp, leaving behind a scene of destruction. They went after any resident they could find—women, men, and wounded alike. The 42 survivors were the ones who the killers could not find.


Inactivity of UN and U.S. and lies of the Iraqi government
Despite repeated pleas for the UN or US to intervene, there was complete silence and inactivity from both. The residents phoned directly to UNAMI and U.S. Embassy. Two bodies found later were still clutching phones. The Second Secretary in the US Embassy in Baghdad, who was informed 30 minutes after the start of the massacre, replied that he would urgently follow this case. But it was only after 12 hours that a local UN official finally went to the scene, by which time the massacre was over. By then the Iraqi government was already denying that any of their military had entered the camp. But in a turnaround move, the Iraqi Government then admitted it had the hostages in its possession. On September 12, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Kamel Amin, the spokesman of Iraq’s Human Rights Ministry, as saying that security forces arrested the hostages because they had attacked the forces. After initially acknowledging its role in their abduction, oddly, the Iraqi government denied yet again knowledge of the hostages’ whereabouts in order to put a lid over its crime against humanity.

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Other atrocities

Other atrocities (9)

The al-Maliki government did not hide its intention to end the presence of Ashraf residents in Iraq by all means. Beside the three deadly attacks and slaughters of Ashraf residents in July 2009, April 2011 and September 2013, the Iraqi forces loyal to al-Maliki attacked the residents on 20 other occasions, using both lethal and non-lethal weapons, injuring hundreds. Two major atrocities by al-Maliki forces on December 26, 2010 and January 7, 2011 were other events to be covered.

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Medical Siege

Medical Siege (2)

Medical services as a tool of torture

Background

Prior to the transfer of protection of Ashraf from the U.S. government to Iraq, Ashraf residents were provided proper medical attention and adequate medical supplies at their own expense. A well-equipped medical center with physicians and specialists from residents themselves with assistance from Iraqi medical specialists managed this center and offered medical services to patients. The residents had free access to Iraqi specialists and surgeons who used to visit Ashraf and carry out various surgeries. The purchase of medicine, medical equipment, and paraclinical devices from the Iraqi market was not hindered in any way. In those years, Iraqi dentists and medical specialist visited Ashraf. In addition, patients in the camp freely visited private clinics or hospitals, private doctors, and pharmacies in Baghdad and Baquba.
Al-Maliki’s statement on Ashraf
Immediately following transfer of protection of Ashraf from U.S. forces to the Government of Iraq, then Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said in an interview with al-Alam TV (the Iranian regime’s Arabic language TV station) that, “After this great development, we will force them to leave Iraq”.
Then National Security Adviser, Muwaffaq al-Rubaie – a well-known element of the Iranian regime –was designated as the official in charge of implementing this policy. Afterwards, in an interview with another TV station affiliated to the Iranian regime in Iraq, Muwaffaq al-Rubaie stressed: “Gradually, we shall make their presence in Iraq unbearable.” [Interview with al-Forat TV, 1 April 2009]
Medical care under control of Iraqi government
However, with the beginning of the siege, the Iraqi government insisted on managing residents' medical services through the Diyala Health Directorate, aiming to destroy the independent access of residents to medical care. In return, in May 2009, the Ashraf residents prepared a minor 23-bed hospital with all its equipment outside Camp’s western perimeter near the main gate. All the staff was Iraqi nationals, but the cost of the equipment, the medication, the canteen, the water and power were paid by the residents.
“The New Iraq Hospital”
The Diyala Health Directorate assigned Umar Khalid al-Tammimi, an Iraqi intelligence officer as director of the hospital and named the hospital as “The New Iraq Hospital”. As soon as the Iraqi government took control of the hospital, the restrictions emerged; the Iraqi physicians who used to come to Ashraf were faced with harassments and humiliating measures including: insulting body searches, humiliating treatment, conducting irrelevant investigations, and threatening with arrest and persecution.
In summer 2009, Iraqi forces prevented entry of medical specialists who used to come to Ashraf for years to treat patients. The Iraqi government announced that only those physicians sent by the Diyala Health Directorate are allowed to enter Ashraf. However, in the subsequent one month period that followed, they even prevented entry of five groups of physicians who had been sent by the Diyala Health Directorate.
Blocking entry of physicians and medicine
In October 2009, the Iraqi government officially notified Ashraf residents that from now on no private or state physician will be allowed to enter the camp. On 25 November 2009, a representative of the Diyala Health Directorate informed Ashraf residents that upon orders issued by the Iraqi Prime Ministry, from this day forward, entry of all physicians and medicine to Ashraf is prohibited. Medical supplies were turned away. Lack of medicine caused serious problems for patients that were in need of constant medication. These patients included those suffering from heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes and hyperthyroidism. Some medicines, including medication for MS, could only be obtained from the Ministry of Health.
Further harassments imposed on the patients
In the course of 2010 and 2011, daily harassments were even extended. Owing to the ban on physicians, the residents had to be sent to outside hospitals. In many cases, the patients were not allowed to leave the camp at all. Only after months of pressure, the patient was allowed to go out. However, Umar Khalid created deliberate long delays in such a way that the patients arrived in Baghdad after business hours which resulted effectively in missed appointments. It took months to be able to see physicians. Consequently, the patients sustained further harms and their diseases developed to an irreversible stage. Mr. Mehdi Fathi, suffering from kidney cancer, was one of those residents that were actually tormented to death by the Iraqi authorities.
The hospital director used to dispatch military forces as security guards for female patients while visiting hospitals outside Ashraf, entering the doctor’s office with their weapons while the women’s specialists are checking their patients. They had time and again prevented the purchase of necessary medication. At times, they had even aimed their weapons at the patients.
As it is noticed, the al-Maliki government turned “New Iraq Hospital” into a center for torture of the patients. The issue went beyond the "free access" of individuals to medical care and it was rather using medical services as a tool of torture and finishing off the patients through gradual torture.

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Legal Opinions

Legal Opinions (9)

Ever since 2003 and invasion of Iraq, the PMOI has initiated an extensive international campaign, recruiting world level experts in International Law to establish the certain fundamental rights of the residents of Ashraf. To this end, one of the most basic arguments was introduced by several distinguished jurists with international recognition led by Professor Cherif Bassiouni that the residents of Ashraf did not participate in the Iraq’s hostilities and therefore they are non-combatants and are “protected persons” under the law of the war.

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Legal Status of Ashraf residents

Legal Status of Ashraf residents (0)


In the aftermath of US invasion of Iraq in 2003, and voluntarily consolidation of arms and personnel of PMOI in Camp Ashraf, various US agencies, including the State, Defense, Justice, Treasury, and Homeland Security Departments as well as the CIA, FBI, and Defense Intelligence Agency, investigated the Camp Ashraf residents. The 16-month investigation included exhaustive interviews with each resident. American investigators concluded there was no evidence that any of the residents had ever committed an act of terrorism. Based on the results of the investigation, Coalition Forces officially recognized residents of Camp Ashraf as “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Non violent agreement Legal Status white
 Agreement signed by every each PMOI member. Subsequent to that, the MNF-I issued "Protected Person"-Card to each PMOI member
 Proclamation of PMOI members' status as "Protected Persons" under Fourth Geneva Convention by MNF-I Commander

In a letter dated July 21, 2004, by the US Deputy Commander in Iraq to the people of Ashraf, Major General Geoffrey Miller stated that the decision to recognize Camp Ashraf residents as protected persons “sends a strong signal and is a powerful first step on the road to [their] final individual disposition.”

In a letter to Camp Ashraf residents on October 7, 2005, Major General William
Brandenburg, on behalf of Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I), reaffirmed the “protected persons” status of the residents and reviewed in detail their rights and protections under international law, including that “they have the right to refuse to return to their country of nationality, regardless of their legal status in the country in which they are protected.” Major General Brandenburg went on to reaffirm that these rights “cannot be renounced, either by the Residents of Camp Ashraf or by Coalition Forces.” This restatement of their rights was drawn from the Fourth Geneva Convention.

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Iraq nationwide support

Iraq nationwide support (4)

Subsequent to the US invasion, the people of Iraq realized soon that the real and long term threat is from the eastern borders, the Iranian regime that claims to be guardian of Shiites. They found that the Iran's rulers want to dominate this part of the world and have turned Iraq into a hunting ground and the frontline of their war with the International Community.
On the other hand, the people of Iraq found that PMOI is a firm obstacle against the Iranian regime and a real support for themselves against the Iranian regime's brutal invasion and unbridled terrorism within the last two decades; in a matter of fact, a strategic ally in achieving security, peace and democracy in Iraq. Due to the action of Iran's rulers against the interests of the Iraqi people, and the situation this regime has created in their country, the attitude of independent Iraqi individuals and political forces toward the PMOI has turned to be a very clear criterion. Therefore, they comprehended that the only solution and outlook in Iraq and particularly in the southern provinces passes through eviction of the Iranian regime from their country. In order to achieve that purpose, they must bond stronger ties with PMOI. Therefore, in every event, the Iraqi people took their way ahead Ashraf to express their sympathy. Through these years, dozens of declarations and congressional meetings were also held in Ashraf sponsored by the Iraqi personalities.

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Visit of International Delegations

Visit of International Delegations (1)

Since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, subsequent to the Iranian regime’s demonization campaign against the PMOI and Ashraf resident, scores of jurists and parliamentarians from Europe and U.S. paid visit to Ashraf to gain a better understanding of them.
Through its lobbies among quarters and governmental departments in western countries, the Iranian regime makes allegations against the PMOI. It is self-evident that such accusations are rooted in Tehran’s propaganda machinery. Delegations come to launch their own investigation provide a coherent analysis of the group in light of these charges. The delegations made an assessment as well about the legal status of PMOI in Iraq.
However, after security and control of Ashraf was handed over from the U.S. Army to the Iraqi government, it put the camp under siege and banned all the visits.
Among the delegations was the EU parliament delegation headed by then Vice President of EU Parliament, Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras. The visits to Ashraf are displayed briefly.

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Brief history of Ashraf City

Brief history of Ashraf City (2)

Name and location:

Camp Ashraf, or Ashraf City as it was widely called, was home to approximately 3,500 members of the main Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI). The city is located in one of Iraq’s largest provinces, Diyala, and is approximately 80km northeast of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. It is 70km to the east of the Iran-Iraq border.
Upon the PMOI’s move to Iraq, the organization set up a number of bases along the Iran-Iraq border. What is now known as Ashraf City was one of those bases.
Ashraf City took its name from Ashraf Rajavi, a well known political prisoner during the time of the Shah. She was amongst the last group of political prisoners released from the Shah’s prisons in 1979.

Building the Camp
In 1986, Ashraf City was an approximately 40 square kilometer piece of barren land in a dry desolate desert. Only a handful of deserted buildings were standing and there were no facilities, paved roads, lamp posts or running water. However, by the toil, sweet and blood of its residents, it soon developed into a cultured, tidy and productive city. The residents built up squares, beautiful and well-maintained gardens, recreational facilities, giant Halls, meeting halls, air conditioned apartments, workshops and paved roads sided with tall trees. They established a well-equipped hospital, power plant and water purification plant. The PMOI pumped water from a Tigris offshoot 30 kilometers away from the camp and provide water to more than 20 thousand Iraqi inhabitants en rout to Ashraf.


Invasion of Iraq
During the US invasion of Iraq in April 2003, the PMOI / residents of Ashraf announced loudly and clearly that they will stand neutral, not engaging in war and therefore disclosed the coordinates of all their bases, through members of the British Parliament and the US Congress, to the United Nations, as well as the governments of the United Kingdom and the United States. Nevertheless, as part of an agreement reached between the US and UK governments and the Iranian regime, the Coalition forces carried out bombings of the PMOI, killing more than 50 with scores of inured and causing significant physical destruction of the PMOI bases. Ashraf sustained enormous damage. These attacks, killing non-combata were clearly breach of international law and culminated in war crime.
“Protected” Status recognised
Following an agreement in May 2003, the PMOI weapons and Ashraf were placed under the Coalition forces control in return for the Coalition to protect Ashraf. On 2 July 2004, the Commander of the Multi-National Forces-Iraq affirmed that the United States had recognized the ‘protected persons’ status of the individuals at Ashraf City under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The illegal hand over, begining of attacks
On February 20, 2009, even though the residents strongly rejected their file being handed over to the Iraqi government, knowing the nature of al-Maliki and his allegiance to the Iranian regime, yet, the US administration transferred the control of Camp Ashraf to the the al-Maliki government in breach of non-refulement principle. That was the pivotpoint where all miseries commenced. Subsequently, the residents of Ashraf faced several minor attacks and two brutal deadly attacks in July 2009 and April 2011, which resulted in numerous deaths and scores of injured and damages.


Forced Eviction of the residents
Following these deadly attacks, the Iraqi Government stated its intention to close Camp Ashraf by the end of 2011. On September 13, 2011 the UNHCR declared the residents to be “asylum seekers under international law,” which entitled them “to benefit from basic protection of their security and well-being.” The UNHCR requested the al-Maliki government to extend its deadline. The then Special Representative of UN Secretary General for Iraq, Martin Kobler initiated a campaign in support of al- Maliki government’s forced eviction of the PMOI memebrs from Ashraf.
On the other hand, at the behest of the Iranian regime, al-Maliki government supported by the Martin Kobler, tried to terrify the residents in order to oust them from Ashraf eventually, setting several ultimatums and claiming that the patience of the Iraqi government is running out!
On December 25, 2011 Martin Kobler, and the Iraqi government signed Memorandum of Understanding, without the residents’ knowledge, forcing them to leave Ashraf to Camp Liberty. Thus, in February 2012, a forcible eviction rather than a consensual relocation started.

Property issue
Within six months, approximately 3,100 of the residents were moved from Camp Ashraf to Camp Liberty. 100 residents remained behind at Ashraf to address the issue of property estimated more than five hundred million dollars. This was based on a quadrilateral agreement between the residents, UNAMI and Iraqi government, with support of the US, in which the protection of the residents was guaranteed.

1st Septemebr massacre, betrayed assurances
Despite promises assurances to protect the remaining residents, at dawn on September 1, 2013, Iraqi forces affiliated to the “Golden Division” (Special forces of the Iraqi government nick named “Dirty Division”) entered the camp, slaughtering 52 residents in a brutal manner. The assailants took 7 as hostages, 6 of whom were women and blew up buildings and vehicles on their way out.
Yet, the situation was very tense. The Iraqi forces threated to kill the survivors. On September 5, the Deputy SRSG, Ambassador Buzstine, came up with a joint plan dubbed “Security Arrangements in Camp Liberty” addressing the relocation of the survivors to camp Liberty. In return, the Iraqi government would guarantee safety and security of the residents and allow them to sell their property left behind in Ashraf. A day later, Ms. Elizabeth Jones, the then-U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, in a letter to Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, supported the above plan and wrote that if the residents accept this plan “The United Nations will help facilitate the safeguarding of the property at Ashraf through your retention of a trusted local security firm. The U.S. Embassy will do its utmost to support these efforts”.
Based on these guarantees, the last group of residents left Ashraf. However, in practice, none of the promises were kept and the residents have been unable to sell a penny of their assessments. The Iraqi government assigned the murderers of Ashraf residents in charge of Camp Liberty under the guise of “Camp management”. As a result, the residents are yet challenging an inhumane siege under prison-like conditions at Camp Liberty.

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Psychological Torture

Psychological Torture (7)

In the wake of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and Iranians being allowed to visit sacred Shiite sanctities in Iraq, many families of Ashraf residents in Iran took advantage of the opportunity and began visiting Ashraf to see their loved ones after many years of separation. Under the excuse of visiting Shiite sanctities and tourist trips to Iraq, they visited Ashraf without knowledge of the Iranian regime and MOIS officials. Of course, some of these family members upon their return to Iran were arrested, tortured and even executed like Ali Saremi, Jaffar Kazemi, Mohammad-Ali Aghaii and others. Amnesty International and other international human rights organizations have reported some of these cases. 
Hundreds of family visits continued from 2003 to 2009 when Ashraf was under the control of US forces and the residents’ family members were able to stay as guests for as long as they wished in Ashraf’s “Hotel Iran”, built for this very purpose.
However, as soon as Camp Ashraf file was transferred from US forces to al-Maliki government in 2009 - at behest of the Iranian regime - all visitors including families were immediately banned and returned back. In early 2009, tens of Ashraf residents’ families were arrested in Tehran International Airport while intending to pay a visit to their relatives in Ashraf. The families did not dare to visit Ashraf from inside Iran because there was no doubt in their minds their names would be handed over to the Iranian regime immediately and they will face arrestment upon their return.
In the early 2010, the Iraqi Prime Minister Office in cooperation with the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad arranged the so-called “family visits” of some Iranian government-operated NGO to destabilize Ashraf. Number of MOIS agents assisted by the Iraqi army and under the guise of “family members”, set up camp at the main gate of Ashraf, fixing nine loudspeakers to the Gate’s metal frame to broadcast aggressive messages to the residents. Soon, it became obvious that those claimed to be families of Ashraf residents, were actually either PMOI defectors or agents, dispatched by MOIS. Only a small number of them had relatives in Ashraf who were used to cover up the regime’s plan.
Over a period of two years, the loudspeakers multiplied to reach 320 units at the four wings of the camp’s perimeter fence, blaring threats and insults day and night at the residents, to torture them and destroy any chance of rest. It is noteworthy that such method is used as yet inside the Iranian regime’s prisons in order to break down political prisoners.
Nevertheless, the psychological torture continued for 677 days until the MoU was signed and Ashraf residents were displaced in the early 2012.
The following are excerpts of some of the threats expressed by the so-called “family members”, who were really MOIS agents:

MOIS Agent Soraya Abdollahi:
I shall hang each and every one of you in front of Ashraf. We shall carry out a massacre in Ashraf and destroy it.
Beware; these actions by us will soon start in the form of an attack… We shall annihilate Ashraf… With our presence here, Ashraf has come to its demise… Death to you…
MOIS Agent Mostafa Mohammadi:
If I order them to attack at night; do you know that not one of you will stay alive? Don't get the word out that a number of mercenaries have come. We have come here with official papers. Our papers are with the leaders in Baghdad and the army in Baghdad. This yelling that I am doing will cost you greatly one day, the day that I tie the ropes around each of your necks and pull you up.
MOIS Agent Soraya Abdollahi:
Listen to this! This is the end of the road… I will be after you to the last second. I will follow you to the last second. ..I will, with my own hand, with my own fingers, I will put it in your mouth and pull out that dirty tongue of yours. I will be the one to hang you. I will put the rope around your neck myself.
MOIS Agent Soraya Abdollahi:
We shall turn Ashraf into rubble.
I tell to the army, navy and air force of Iraq that we are grateful. We understand this. Your hands are tied.
I shall hang each and every one of you in front of Ashraf. We shall carry out a massacre and destroy it

The photo above: Powerful loudspeakers on perimeters of Ashraf broadcasting deafening noise as part of psychological torture of the residents after US handed over of the camp to Iraqis

View items...
By Tahar Boumedra Tahar Boumedra as Chief of the Human Rights Office of United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), and Adviser to the Special…
By Staff Writer, Iran ProbeThursday, 7 April 2016 Five years have passed from April 8th, 2011 when security forces associated to former Iraqi prime minister…
PRESS RELEASE- Iraq: New violence in Camp Ashraf raises concerns for the safety of its residents Geneva, 11 April 2011. The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)…
Camp Ashraf, or Ashraf City as it was widely called, was home to approximately 3,500 members of the main Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin…
  Doc. 12510- 28 January 2011- Camp Ashraf- Written Declaration No 472: This written declaration commits only the members who have signed it On 7 January 2011, the assault…
On 4 August 2005 two members of the PMOI residents of Ashraf Camp, Hossein Pouyan andMohammad-Ali Zahedi were abducted in eastern Baghdad while on a…
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External Links

Two Misguided Reports

  • HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH Report
    HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH Report
    On 18 May 2005, the US based Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) issued a 28-page report (“the HRW Report”) concerning the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (“PMOI / MEK”).  Entitled ‘No Exit: Human Rights Abuses Inside the MKO Camps’, the HRW Report was essentially based on 12 hours of telephone interviews with 12…
  • Courting Disaster, A response to Rand report on People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran
    Courting Disaster, A response to Rand report on People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran
    The RAND National Defense Research Institute published in July 2009 the report The Mujahedin-e Khalq: A Policy Conundrum for the Multi-National Force-Iraq, Task Force 134 (Detainee Operations). The report focuses on the circumstances surrounding the detention of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK) at Camp Ashraf and “whether MeK members were taken into custody…