A country’s judiciary system, before anything, administrates justice and follows a guiding principle that never doubts about the brought charges when it is to deliberate and come to a verdict. A judge’s judgment is done according to the law and he is cautious about his judgment because he is well aware of the evil that comes from judging wrongly. A judge’s verdict is delivered based on proven charges and the accused is acquitted of the charges only if the court is convinced according to sound evidences. Of course, a judge has to be more cautious when working on a dossier that instigates an official inquiry into terrorist charges threatening a country’s social security.
On 16 June 2003 the French best-known anti-terrorist judge Jean Louis Bruguiere and his team, following a 14 hours interrogation that had started at 15.30 hour local time on 16 June 2003, issued a detention order accusing the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the political umbrella group dominated by the MKO, blacklisted as a terrorist group by the US, the EU, and other countries, of "terrorist activities, association with a terrorist organization and financing terrorist operations". Shortly after 6 am on 17 June 2003 more than 1200 police and gendarmerie forces launched the largest police operation in three decades to raid 13 MKO-run offices in Val-d’Oise and Yvelines, two departments of the Parisian region. The main target was the office of MKO at Auvers-sur-Oise and Police arrested 164 suspected Mojahedin cadres as well as Maryam Rajavi, the NCRI’s self-nominated president-elect.
The French Government said it was trying to stop the group from expanding its operations in France. Nicolas Sarkozy, the French Interior Minister, said the order to crackdown on the MKO was decided following two years of investigations on the network. He said MKO "recently wanted to make France its support base, notably after the intervention in Iraq. We cannot accept that". The head of France’s domestic intelligence service, Pierre de Bousquet de Florian, said the group was "transforming its Val d’Oise centre [near Paris] … into an international terrorist base".
The Police discovered and confiscated more than a million US dollars in 100 banknotes, 100.000 Euros, sophisticated communication equipments and computers. French Interior Ministry sources said they had confiscated more than 8 millions dollars in cash found in various offices of the MKO as well in the houses of its high-ranking officials throughout France.
In the next few days, people in some European cities were shocked to witness one of the most appalling potentialities of Mojahedin; a number of the group’s insiders immolated themselves in public to protest Maryam Rajavi’s arrest. Reportedly, more than ten Mojahedin sympathizers set themselves alight in three days in Paris, Berne, Rome, London, and Ottawa. The human tragedy ended with two deaths; two women, Sediqeh Mojaveri, 40, and Neda Hassani, 19, died because of the self-immolation injuries.
After three years, on 16 June 2006, MKO announced in a statement that the Paris Appeals Court had dropped all restrictions imposed on 16 active members of the Iranian terrorist group including Maryam Rajavi, following the raid of June 17, 2003. According to the Appeals Court ruling, the 16 members were free to communicate with each other and to travel abroad, nothing more. The French court ruling gave MKO an opportunity to fuel its propaganda machine. While the file is open and MKO is not acquitted of the previous charges, the group has initiated rebuking the French judiciary.
At a press conference held in Paris on June 20, 2006, several members, along with a few of its French advocates, reproved French judiciary for having made a transparent mistake three years ago. Bernard Dartevelle, a French jurist present at the press conference, said "This shows that all their charges against the Resistance were completely baseless. The terrorist charge against the Mojahedin has been undermined. On the international level, the ruling is a slap on the face of all those who have designated the PMOI in the terror list". Mr. Dartevelle’ statement, meant to slap MKO on the back, is more a slap in the face of international opinion.
Abolqasem Rezaii, deputy head of the NCRI’s secretariat, one of the 16, told the press conference that the “recent court ruling represented a total rejection of all terrorist and money laundering charges against the Iranian Resistance”. The French judiciary has exonerated none of the MKO’s previous terrorist and money laundering charges and the file is fully open. Now, after three years, Rezaii claims “I told them [investigators] from day one that I was in charge of the Resistance’s finances and that they could ask all their questions from me, but they did not speak to me even once… now that the falsity of the case and all those charges are proven, why do they not close the file?”. No doubt, he has been investigated on the charges more than once but proved to be non-cooperative or misguiding, otherwise, the court would rule return of more than $8 million to the NCRI whose sources are not still transparent. Moreover, the court has banned the group to be indulged in fundraising activities inside the Franc’s soil.
MKO must be thankful of the French judiciary and people whom they are reproaching. It is MKO’s habitual to claim the whole loaf if you favor them a morsel. Wise people leash hounds with rabies to save others in the vicinity. It is a heavy mutual duty on the shoulders of French’s judiciary and security systems to be watchful of a sect, blacklisted as a terrorist organization, to safeguard the social peace and nation’s well-being when it is settled next door. MKO is capable of jeopardizing peace and tranquility of people as it did when in Iran.
– The quotes are all from the NCRI website Dated26 June 2006.
By A. Afshar, 28 June 2006