Conference – January 12, 2011
The French Committee for a Democratic Iran (CFID), which includes in France, MPs, former ministers, judges, political personalities and human rights defenders, held on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 in Monnerville Hall at the French Senate, a meeting entitled “French senators’ support for the Iranian Resistance and Camp Ashraf”.
This meeting took place after two major events affected the situation of the camp, home to 3,400 members of the main Iranian opposition movement. First the Spanish Court’s writ of December 28, initiating an investigation on the July 2009 assault against Ashraf, as war crime and crime against the international community. Second, the aggression of Ashraf residents on January 7, by the Iranian regime agents and forces under command of the committee in charge of the camp suppression, at the Iraqi prime minister office.
Welcoming Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Senator Jean-Pierre Michel gave her, on behalf of CFID and his colleagues, a declaration of support for the Iranian Resistance and especially the People’s Mojahedin in Ashraf, signed by a majority of senators.
The Senate’s consensus demonstrates the importance of this international political matter. Especially because prior to the senate, a majority of MPs in July 2010 and more than 5,000 mayors in France, signed a similar text.
Senators reflecting the political spectrum, including committee chairpersons, presidents and vice-presidents of political groups, presidents of regional and local councils, condemned in their statement the massive crackdown that followed the great popular uprising to end the religious dictatorship in Iran. They particularly condemned death sentences for “waging war against God” (or moharebeh).While supporting Mrs. Rajavi’s call for a democratic change in Iran, they wrote that the French government “must ask the UN to have a more active presence in support of Camp Ashraf residents’ rights and assume the responsibility of their protection. We believe that in applying the draft resolution that received the support of a majority in Congress, the US must provide adequate guarantees to protect these people. It should also call the Iraqi government to recognize Ashraf residents’ rights as protected person under the Fourth Geneva convention.”
In the January 12 meeting, participants noted the latest Amnesty International statement warning against the imminent execution of seven supporters of the people’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI), and the hanging on December 28 of another activist of the same movement, Mr. Ali Saremi, 62, at the Evin prison in Tehran. Among the charges against Mr. Saremi, who spent a total of 24 years of his life in jail, was meeting his son in Camp Ashraf, in Iraq.
Death sentences, torture and arrests of Ashraf residents’ relatives betray Tehran leaders’ fear of Ashraf City. A city that has become a model and a source of inspiration for Iranians, encouraging them to persevere for democracy and fundamental freedoms in Iran.
It’s been two years since Ashraf protection was transferred by the US led multinational force to the Iraqi security forces. Since then, Iraqi security forces have shown neither the will nor the capacity to assume this responsibility. Instead they have imposed many restrictions on the camp residents in medical and basic necessities. They also provided the logistics for a method of psychological torture making 180 powerful loudspeakers daily screaming around the camp. For over two years, an illegal committee from the Iraqi Prime Minister’s office, named “Committee for Closure of Camp Ashraf”, organizes all the repressive measures against Ashraf residents. Yet this committee operates under the direct influence of the Iranian regime.
The latest attack happened on January 7, 2011, when following a visit of the Iranian FM to Baghdad, some 200 elements recruited by the Iranian embassy and supported by the Iraqi army and police under this committee’s authority, launched an assault with Molotov Cocktails, stones, iron bars and sharp objects on the refugees, leading to 176 wounded.
The Spanish court has just indicted an Iraqi general directly involved in commanding the bloody attack in July 2009, for crimes against the international community, on the basis of the 4th Geneva Convention. The writ said that based on the Rome statute of the International criminal Court, a serious violation of this convention – which France is signatory – is a war crime. The Spanish judge considers that the designation of war crimes applies to the Iraqi authorities for acts committed against Ashraf residents.
In their January 12 meeting, the senators called the French government to choose an active diplomacy to meet the demand of the Senate declaration. In addition to guarantees for Ashraf residents’ protection by the USA and UN, they ask for two urgent measures:
1- The end of the psychological torture of the Ashraf residents and the removal of the 180 loudspeakers.
2- The dissolution of the illegal “Committee for Closure of Camp Ashraf” and, as far as Iraq is concerned, to place Ashraf under the Iraqi parliament supervision.