Refugees undergo medical restrictions as imposed by Iranian government

The Church of England Newspaper – December 3rd, 2010 – Camp Ashraf, which lies 60 km north of Baghdad, houses more than 3,400 supporters of the People’s Mojaheddin Organization of Iran (PMOI), an Iranian opposition group, all of whom are experiencing medical restrictions from the Iraqi government.

Many of the inhabitants suffer from cancer, heart conditions, and numerous other diseases that require medical attention.

Held under American control until 2009, Camp Ashraf is now occupied by the Iraqi government. Since the transfer of authority, inhabitants have experienced difficulties acquiring medical attention due to the overwhelming presence of Iraqi militants, it is alleged. According to sources, an Iraqi security committee is responsible for deciding which inhabitants are to receive medical attention, allowing them the ultimate control of who leave the camp.

Amnesty International reports that the hospital adjacent to the camp does not provide the medical help many residents require, making it necessary for patients to travel to Baghdad and further regions to access treatment. Reports have been confirmed that patients travelling to appointments in Baghdad have been detained by Iraqi forces, as militant forces allegedly refuse them the accompaniment of translators or medical assistants.

It is reported that Iraqi officials also refuse the provide patients with mobility issues the proper equipment necessary for their transfer.

This delay in treatment has reportedly brought on detrimental results for patients. Elham Fardipour, a patient suffering from thyroid cancer, was barred from receiving treatment in Baghdad. Her long-term care nurse and translator were forbidden to travel with her, forcing her to travel independently. It is suspected that her cancer is likely to spread due to lack of timely treatment.

Many allege the ill-treatment of patients at the hands of Iraqi soldiers, with cases of soldiers removing patients from hospitals by force, and in some cases, inflicting verbal abuse. One case reports that a soldier allegedly beat a patient recovering from surgery, thus invoking a seizure.

Amnesty International calls upon health professionals and government officials to contact locals Iraqi embassies with appeals on behalf of Camp Ashraf residents.

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