Tariq Harb: MKO Presence in Iraq, Illegal

Despite the approval of a ruling by former Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) on the expulsion of MKO from Iraq, the leader of the group are trying all possible ways to stay in that country.

The leaders of the group claim that the presence of the group in Iraq is legal and sometimes claim to be refugees; recently they tried to introduce the group as a political front.

During referendum on Iraqi constitution last year, this terrorist organization was trying to enter Iraq’s political scene when it claimed that Iraq’s new constitution had been written in Iran! At that time, Iraqi government responded to the situation properly.

In recent months also, by spending millions of dollars, the group has been trying to buy supporters in Iraq the newest example of which was the distribution of pamphlets under the name of Iraqi tribes, asking for the staying of MKO in Iraq.

More than 100 lawyers, tied to the former regime of Saddam Hussein and all from the dissolved Baathist party, released a statement in favor of MKO and claimed that the group’s presence in Iraq is legal.

Meanwhile, Article 7 of Iraq’s constitution- approved by 70% of Iraqis- expresses clearly that the presence of terrorist groups in Iraq is illegal.

On the other hand, it should be noted that terrorist organization of Mojahedin-e Khalq has committed terrorist activities against both Iranians and Iraqis.

MKO was involved in suppressing Kurds and Shiites in early 90s and the court of Saddam Hussein is expected to release the names of its leaders as the ones who committed crimes against Iraqis.

Earlier, Iraqi government emphasized that it would prosecute the MKO if its crimes against Iraqis are proved.

In an interview with IRNA’s correspondent in Baghdad, an eminent Iraqi lawyer discussed the issue of MKO from a legal viewpoint.

Tariq Harb, a senior lawyer in Iraq’s Judiciary, is the head of the ‘Population of Disseminating Law Culture in Iraq’. He is also one of the senior lawyers in Saddam court.

Citing Iraqi constitution, Harb said the presence of MKO in Iraq was illegal.

"Iraqi constitution clearly bans the presence of terrorist groups in the country. In legal terms, group’s presence in Iraq is illegal," he said.

On contradiction between MKO presence and Iraqi constitution, Harb said: "European countries and the US as well as many of the world’s countries have designated the MKO as a terrorist organization. Also, Iraqi constitution declares that no terrorist group should be allowed to stay in Iraq soil (article 7)."

"Article 8 of the Iraqi constitution reads that Iraq observes the principle of good neighborliness, and it should reject organizations conducting military or political operations against adjacent countries. So, the presence of groups like MKO and PKK in Iraq is illegal."

On the illegal presence of the MKO, he continued to say: "According to the laws of Iraqi non-governmental organizations and the Iranian group’s nature, the MKO has never been enlisted as foreign non-governmental organizations operating in the country. So, the MKO is not considered a legal entity and its presence is illegal."

Tareq Harb added: "Several complaints by MKO against real and legal groups or people have not been pursued by Iraqi courts because basically the MKO’s presence in Iraq can’t be accepted."

"Iraqi government should have no interaction with this terrorist group in Iraq," he said on the issue of Iraqi government’s approach toward the group.

"IGC ordered the expulsion of the group and recently, Iraqi PM said they couldn’t stay in Iraq anymore".

On repentant members of MKO who want to return to their country, Harb said:

"Iraqi government can’t help the issue. This is something that should be pursued by international organizations like Red Cross and Red Crescent. Even if they are in Iraq as refugees they can’t claim of rights. Refugee rules don’t force the host country to accept them. Despite the claims of the group, hosting countries can expel them in the case they’re not going to extradite them to their country of origin."

On MKO weapons, given to them by Saddam regime, he said:

"All their weapons and equipments, considered the properties of Iraq, should be returned to the government. Properties of other countries should also be returned to their own countries."

On the statements released under the name of Iraqi lawyers and tribal leaders in favor of MKO, he stated: "Today, one can buy others by money. There’s only money behind such supports for a terrorist organization. They can easily contact others in Iraq and offer them money in exchange of expressing support for them."

"Despite all claims, Iraqis hate the group and even tribesmen of Dyala, in which the MKO’s camp is located, dislike the group strongly."

Mr. Harb expressed hope that the elements of this terrorist group be expelled from his country as soon as possible so that good ties with neighboring nations are not damaged.

IRNA    2006/12/28

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