Dr. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Vice President of the European Parliament and the President of the International Committee of In Search of Justice (ISJ) comprised of 4,000 parliamentarians throughout the world, visited the headquarters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in northern Paris on Monday 1 November and met with Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the NCRI. They discussed the latest situation in Camp Ashraf, Iraq, home to 3,400 members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI-MeK), and the way in which the residents of Ashraf are protected and their rights respected.
During this visit, the EP Vice President contacted Ashraf residents in order to find out personally about the situation in the Camp. A number of representatives of the residents and officials of the Camp expressed their gratitude to Dr. Vidal-Quadras and his colleagues in the European Parliament for their special attention to Ashraf. They presented him reports about the latest situation in Ashraf from different perspectives.
The reports covered some of the serious threats to the protection of Ashraf residents posed by the Iraqi forces including; attacks by these forces on Ashraf in October that led to 28 injuries among the residents, the cruel siege of Ashraf for the past two years, psychological torture of the residents by agents of the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and the terrorist Quds force using 100 powerful loudspeakers to broadcast threats to their lives that has been going on since last February, and constantly causing obstructions for the patients in Ashraf to have access to medical services, as a result which, some of the patients are now diagnosed with incurable diseases. Two of the residents, whose fathers are currently political prisoners in Iran and one of whom is sentenced to death, explained to the EP Vice President about brutal suppression of Ashraf residents’ families and supporters of the PMOI in Iran.
Commenting on the reports, Dr. Vidal-Quadras emphasized that all the restrictions imposed on Ashraf residents and assaults on them are carried out upon the request of the Iranian regime and the orders of the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, which reflects the regime’s fear from the PMOI and Camp Ashraf. This is while the residents of Ashraf are unarmed and live under total blockade. This is an indication of the movement’s popular base and deep root within the Iranian society highlighting the fact that was witnessed last summer by the world when masses of Iranian expats gathered in support of the Resistance and Camp Ashraf in Paris. The criminal measures against Ashraf are the other side of the Iranian regime’s crimes inside the country and in prisons against people and especially the families of Ashraf residents.
Recalling the European Parliament resolution on Ashraf adopted on April 24, 2009, Dr. Vidal-Quadras said that there were no doubts that measures against Ashraf residents violate all international conventions and are considered as crimes against humanity.
He noted that, as many of the international jurists and human rights organizations have declared, the dispatch of agents to the main entrance of Ashraf and its southern flank and threatening the residents, using 100 loudspeakers, with death, expulsion, extradition and setting the Camp on fire, are clear examples of psychological torture. To this end, Maliki and the officials who carry out his orders must be tried in international tribunals and punished for psychological torture and other crimes.
Dr. Vidal-Quadras underscored the US responsibility to protect Ashraf residents and emphasized that they were Protected Persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention and the United States had signed an agreement with every single resident under which their protection must be guaranteed until their final disposition. Therefore, the United States must re-establish its forces inside Ashraf in order to forestall another humanitarian catastrophe, otherwise, in face of any harm to Ashraf residents, the US Government will be held accountable, he asserted.
The President of ISJ recalled the judicial case opened in the Spanish National Court to investigate crimes committed by the Iraqi officials in the bloody attacks of late July 2009 and added that all the crimes committed after July 2009 against Ashraf residents, including the ongoing psychological torture of the residents, will be added to the case in the Spanish court. Based on the court’s decision, the events of July 2009 violated the international conventions and in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention and their perpetrators must be tried and punished.
The EP Vice President addressed the 1000 women residents of Ashraf and said that the revolting insults by Iranian regime’s agents against them are totally unacceptable for the European Parliament and any dignified person and reflect the regime’s misogyny and fear of the women’s steadfast resistance in Ashraf. These women are outstanding symbols of resistance and strength and have well proven that they have the potential to lead a democratic and modern society.
Dr. Vidal-Quadras said, all of us in the European Parliament and ISJ are extremely worried about the plight of Ashraf residents and bear a heavy responsibility towards their rights, especially for the fact that we are obliged to act upon EP April 24, 2009, resolution. Our commitment towards Ashraf residents, however, goes beyond our legal and specific political obligations; it is indeed our human and historical duty. This is because Ashraf is at the front line of the struggle against fundamentalism for freedom and democracy in the region. By defending those who seek freedom in Iran and by supporting democracy in that country, we are in actual fact defending our own human identity and democracy and human rights all over the world.
International Committee of In Search of Justice
November 2, 2010