Open Letter to President Jalal Talabani, Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki and Hoshyar Zebari, Foreign Minister of Iraq on the situation of Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, NCRI) at Camp Ashraf
On Friday 7 January 2010, a large and peaceful gathering of citizens, Council representatives from the Diyala Province and NGOs from all over Iraq, calling for the removal of foreign terrorist group Mojahedin-e Khalq from their country, came under attack by leading members of the group who used bottles, stones and other implements to try to deter the demonstrators. This did not surprise anyone as the MKO had been issuing threats in its western based media in the days running up to the gathering.
Demonstrators, domestic and foreign reporters and Iraqi security personnel at the gates of Camp New Iraq (formerly Camp Ashraf) were all among those who suffered injuries, with some taken by ambulance to hospitals in Baquba and Baghdad. The MEK’s typically violent response to the demonstrators further exposes the group’s weakness and lack of legitimacy. Several members of the group exhibited self-inflicted head wounds as they followed orders to pretend that Iraqi security forces had attacked them.
Over the past year, the group has come under increasing pressure to allow Iranian families of MEK members who have been encamped outside the MEK’s garrison for eleven months, to meet with their loved ones who, they claim, are being held hostage by the group’s leaders. These families have also suffered attacks and abuse by the MEK leaders. It is clear that many inside the camp are disaffected and have been touched by the presence of their families and want out.
There is clear congruence between the aims of the Iranian families of the hostages and all those Iraqis who have lost loved ones, possessions and land at the hands of the MEK during the regime of Saddam Hussein who supported them. The Iranian families have joined the demonstrators as they see their only hope to see their loved ones is through the dismantlement of the camp and opening the gates of a place in which no marriage or childbirth has taken place for two decades and from which there is no means of contact with the outside world.
A major aim of the demonstrators was to alert international public opinion to the views of ordinary Iraqis toward the continued illegal presence of this foreign terrorist group in their country, and in particular in their Province. They describe the MEK presence as a cancer or a nightmare for their society, and fully support your government’s stance on the MEK. It is important for them that the international community hear their voices.
Unfortunately, many in the West, particularly lawmakers, have relied almost exclusively on the MEK’s duplicitous propaganda campaigns as a source of information about the events at Camp Ashraf. As such, we believe that it would be helpful for your new government to invite independent observers from Western countries to visit the camp in order to see for themselves what is happening there.
But our greatest concern is for the ordinary members who remain trapped inside the camp.
As you are no doubt aware, over five hundred former members of the MEK have been active for many years in Western countries in exposing the MEK’s abuses of their own members. In particular many former members have given first hand testimony of their brutal treatment at the hands of the MKO leaders. As well as daily, systematic violations of human rights, punishments and beatings, some were, in the past, even incarcerated by the MEK in the infamous Abu Ghraib, the political prison of Saddam Hussein.
We are now increasingly aware that MEK leader Massoud Rajavi is denying seriously ill members from accessing life-saving medical treatment because he benefits from the publicity surrounding their deaths which – using lies and misinformation in his western media outlets – he seeks to blame on your government.
With this past record, and with the fresh testimony of recent escapees, we are sure you would agree that there is now urgent need for independent human rights investigators to be given free and unfettered access to check on the situation of every person resident in the camp – that is with no interference by MEK leaders – accompanied by security personnel to ensure their protection.
We applaud the wisdom of the Iraqi people and those leaders who brought the coalition government into existence – despite a great deal of interference by the outside world. We thank you for the humanitarian approach and patience that the Government of Iraq has shown in dealing with this unwelcome issue. While it was incumbent on the occupying American forces to resolve this problem many years ago, they unfortunately neglected this duty and it has been left on your hands.
As the people of Iran and Iraq are the most affected by the crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by Massoud Rajavi and his wife and lieutenant Maryam Rajavi, it is very difficult to see how they can be pardoned in these countries (considering the social problems which come with bloodshed). Therefore it is only fair to ask Europe and America, where we have witnessed extensive favours toward the group, to take and house the remaining aging people trapped in this camp.