Asharq Al-Awsat exposes miserable condition of Mojahedin Khalq hostages in Camp Ashraf
Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper published a long report on the situation of the combatants of the Mojahedin-e Khalq at Camp Ashraf. The paper said that about three thousand men live at Camp Ashraf, called Camp New Iraq by the Iraqi authorities, and over 70% of them are over fifty years old. It is not clear what can be done with them. Whether to keep them in Iraq, or send them to Egypt for example, or have the Americans give more protection so they can be used to threaten Iran.
The only achievement of the MKO leaders in the past twenty years has been to have the name of the organization struck from the terrorism lists of many countries, a move which allows Iran to accuse them of hypocrisy.
The paper reported that several families have travelled from far away just to get news of their relatives inside the camp.
The Mojahedin-e Khalq claim they are officers of the Iranian Intelligence service who have been sent to conduct phsychological warfare on the group. But Asharq Al-Awsat spoke to the families and to Nejat Society in Iran which is helping them, and they say all they want to know is if their relatives are alive and well or if they are dead.
The families are holding a vigil in front of the camp where they have been situated for some months.
Asharq Al-Awsat spoke to people who have recently escaped from the camp. They spoke of the terrible conditions there, and said that anyone wanting to leave was severely punished, even tortured. One former member of the MKO who has served in prison in Iran for terrorist acts while with the MKO told the paper that if the people inside the camp were free to choose, most of them would leave. The group is supported by America and is being used to pressure Iran. But, he says, Iran does not think the group is important and does not see any threat from them.
An Iranian journalist said he believes that America, Iran and Iraq want to keep the MKO holed up in Camp Ashraf for different reasons, but that this is inhumane because the people inside are living in extremely bad conditions and their humanitarian needs should be cared for.
The MKO leaders, for their part, accuse the families of psychological warfare and are demanding that the United Nations take over responsibility for the camp from the Government of Iraq.