Letter of the Sahar Family Foundation to the EU envoy for Ashraf Camp:
After Mr. Jean De Ruyt was appointed by Baroness Catherine Ashton to prepare a report about Ashraf Camp in Iraq for the European Union, the SFF wrote a letter to him which is as follows:
The captives inside Ashraf Camp and their suffering families have no representative and no voice internationally and no one is reflecting their concerns and demands.
Dear Mr. Jean De Ruyt
As we wrote in our letter to the UN General Secretary (a copy is attached), Massoud Rajavi, the cultic leader of the MKO, addressed his followers in Ashraf Camp via Skype during sessions from dusk till dawn during the month of Ramadan. Attending these boring sessions was compulsory for all Ashraf residents. Rajavi emphasized in these sessions that he is determined to keep his forces at any cost. He described giving asylum to Ashraf residents individually a conspiracy to dissolve the organization. He did not give a reason for that but it is obvious that he is aiming to establish another Ashraf Camp in another place (if it happens that he loses the present one), in order to continue keeping the inhabitants captive.
We remember in the past that by submitting his arms to the allied forces in 2003, Rajavi managed to keep Ashraf intact and kept his followers bonded. This time his major goal is to keep his forces too even though he might think that he cannot keep Ashraf any longer.
During these sessions, Rajavi demanded that his forces sign a commitment to be loyal to him to the end. Practically he obliged all his men and women to promise him they would not escape under any circumstances. It is worth mentioning that so far 7 individuals have escaped from Ashraf Camp despite these obligations.
After a few members of the MKO all-female leadership council managed to escape and revealed Rajavi’s immoral behavior, sensitivity over fleeing the leadership council has increased and a greater risk to their lives is concerned. Ms. Zahra Mirbagheri a member of the leadership council who managed to escape some time ago says that Rajavi had ordered all members of the leadership council to watch each other closely and if one attempted to flee others must stop her and it is quite accepted if ten of them are killed to stop one. Ms. Mirbagheri managed to escape miraculously and had she delayed a few moments before reaching the Iraqis she would have been dead since some of the high ranking members of the leadership council were chasing her.
News received from within the Ashraf Camp indicates that all members were armed with slings, catapults and cold weapons and they have loaded a lot of stones and metal pieces on the roofs. Eye witnesses say that when the Iraqi units approached the Camp last April to take back the confiscated lands of the farmers, some MKO committed self-immolation by the direct order of the leaders and at least one person was killed in this manner. Also some deliberately dropped themselves under the Iraqi vehicles and at least one person was killed like this. Some MKO dissidents were shot and killed by the MKO, misusing the situation to eliminate internal opponents. It is significant that those who were more discontented were those who apparently fought against the Iraqis and were killed.
During last April’s incidents, according to eye witnesses, the Iraqis were shooting either into the air or at the ground to stop the aggressors from advancing. In this situation the commanders were encouraging the members to go forward saying the bullets aren’t real and no one should be afraid. But later they claimed that the Iraqi firing killed the victims. It is also said that the MKO had manufactured a shelling device to fire stones using a motor and a tank. Many members of the MKO who were inside the Camp in that time and managed to escape are willing to give their testimony to anyone concerned.
One of those who were announced as dead by the MKO during that event was Morteza Beheshti. He left his wife and his infant child back in Tehran 10 years ago to go to Turkey to find a job to finance his family. But he was deceived into going to Iraq and Ashraf Camp and was kept captive there. His sisters Narges and Laila Beheshti were amongst the families picketing outside Ashraf Camp demanding visits with their loved ones, a request which was denied by the MKO leaders. The sisters investigated the matter with the help of the SFF. Some bodies including that of Morteza were moved to Ba’quba hospital near Ashraf. Morteza’s body was there for at least 40 days and the hospital officials refused to give it to the family. But later the MKO managed to get hold of the body illegally using its influence and spending a lot of money. The hospital report indicates that Morteza was shot in his forehead and his chest. But everyone knows that the Iraqis were shooting into the air or at the ground and according to the MKO leaders they were not using real bullets. The MKO announced Morteza’s death a few days after the incident. Many are willing to witness that Morteza was dissatisfied and wanted to leave. There are other similar cases which can be presented in detail.
Unfortunately the prime victims and inmates inside Ashraf have no representative and no voice and no one is reflecting their interests. They are threatened by Rajavi that if they only try to escape they will face court martial and execution. Some political interests demand that the residents should be held captive inside Ashraf and their families are those who suffer most. This situation will not last for long as Rajavi himself has realized. Rajavi and his supporters in the west cannot keep Ashraf and the forces there, and it is better that those who insist on keeping them there stop making the families suffer any longer.
We wonder why international organizations including the UN are silent about the case. The UNAMI team in Baghdad invites the Iraqi government to respect the principals of human rights in relation to Camp Ashraf, but no one is trying to learn what Rajavi is doing to his own people inside the Camp. The inside of the Camp has never been searched or inspected. As everyone is warning against a human catastrophe by the leaders, some international officials continue with Rajavi’s game and do not take the alerts seriously.
We urge you to meet representatives of Sahar Family Foundation whenever you come to Baghdad and visit in particular the dozens of individuals who escaped the Camp recently and listen to what they have to say first hand.
Sahar Family Foundation
Baghdad, 1 October 2011
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