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The Lion Gate (The main gate of Camp Ashraf)
The Lion Gate (The main gate of Camp Ashraf)

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 witnesses who were allegedly subjected to detention and torture whilst in PMOI / MEK camps. In breach of the Istanbul Protocol for investigating cases of alleged torture, HRW failed to (i) interview the PMOI / MEK , thereby providing it with a right of reply, (ii) obtain physical evidence of the alleged torture, or (iii) visit the alleged place of torture.

The HRW Report drew ire from political, legal and human rights circles around the world. HRW was inundated with communications expressing objections to the findings of the HRW Report, which in the view of many was based on deeply flawed methodology, relied solely on the testimonies of 12 witnesses whose veracity is in serious doubt, and appeared to be improperly political in nature.

In light of the torrent of criticism leveled at HRW and genuine concerns about its findings, Friends of a Free Iran (“FOFI”) an Inter-Parliamentary group at the European Parliament, decided to scrutinize the findings of the HRW Report and to conduct its own independent investigation into the allegations contained therein.   Following months of detailed investigation,  including  research  on  websites  opposed  to  the  PMOI / MEK,  consideration  of literature sent to  Parliamentarians containing various allegations against the PMOI / MEK,  and having visited Camp Ashraf (the location of the alleged abuses) in July 2005, FOFI presented its findings and the contents of its substantial report, ‘People’s Mojahedin of Iran - Mission Report’, (“the FOFI Report”) at the European Parliament on 21 September 2005.

The HRW report was seen widely as an Iranian regime’s failed attempt to keep the name of the PMOI / MEK in the U.S. terrorist listing.  The US based “Iran Policy Committee”(IPC) reported: »Mentioning IPC by name in May 2005, an American organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW), disagreed with the IPC recommendation to remove the MEK from the FTO list. HRW launched an attack against the MEK by releasing a 28-page report, “No Exit: Human Rights Abuses inside the MKO Camps.” The report contains telephone interviews with 12 “former” MEK members. And HRW considers their statements as “credible claims that they were subjected to imprisonment as well as physical and psychological abuses...The IPC appointed a Task Force on Human Rights to investigate allegations about the MEK and its related groups and claims against that organization by the HRW. IPC research concludes that the “credible claims” of HRW are actually statements by agents of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (VEVAK / MOIS), especially Mohammad- Hossein Sobhani and Farhad Javaheri-Yar. Tehran sent most of those interviewed by Human Rights Watch from Iran to Europe for the purpose of demonizing its main opposition, the MEK.«

Here there are two reports by FOFI and one by IPC amongst thousands of reports, letters and articles dealing with the HRW publication, as a biased report on the PMOI / MEK. 

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