The Spanish court could expand its investigations into current abuses against Ashraf: Lawyer

The lawyer for families of Camp Ashraf residents who were attacked by Iraqi forces in 2009 has said that the Iraqi government’s abuses against the residents subsequent to the attacks can also be subject to a judicial probe launched this week.

Dr. Juan Garces, a renowned international lawyer, told the opposition TV channel Simay-e Azadi Iran National TV, that, “The most important issue is that the international legal community has taken an interest in defending against violations of the rights of Ashraf residents.”

Camp Ashraf, home to about 3,400 members of the main Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), came under a brutal attack on July 28 and 29, 2009 by Iraqi forces at the behest of the Iranian regime.

This week, the Spanish National Court, which is investigating the case as a war crime and crime against humanity against the people of Ashraf, ordered the Iraqi police commander who led the attacks to appear in court in early March.

Since the attacks, the Iraqi governments has exerted drastic pressures on the camp, including an inhumane siege which restricts access to healthcare and basic foodstuffs and other necessities. Since February, Iranian regime intelligence agents have also camped out in front of the camp’s main gate while installing more than 140 extremely powerful loudspeakers to psychologically torture the residents.

In an interview with INTV, Dr. Garces, who represents families of the victims of the 2009 attacks, said, “The Iraqi government has violated the fundamental rights of Ashraf residents. Parties to the Geneva Conventions are obligated to prosecute those who order and carry out such assaults. This is what the Spanish court has done. It has asked for the cooperation of Iraqi authorities and their observance of the Convention inside Iraq. It also wants the siege on Camp Ashraf to end. The first step for all of this is to prosecute those responsible for the massacre of July 2009.”

“On December 27, 2010, the Spanish National Court issued a ruling against an Iraqi general who commanded the attack on the unarmed residents of Ashraf. This attack led to 11 deaths, more than 400 injuries, and 36 abductions as well as instances of torture. Currently, this massacre is the subject of investigations.”

“Of course, in light of more judicial clarity, the start of investigations, and confirmation of the rights of Ashraf residents on the basis of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the incidents that are currently occurring in front of Ashraf’s main gate can also be included as the subject of the investigations.”

Dr. Garces added, “The Spanish court has summoned the Iraqi general who led the attack on the unarmed residents of Ashraf in 2009, which left 11 dead and hundreds injured. This individual has been accused of committing this crime and must appear in court to defend himself in March. He has the right to hire a lawyer for himself. If he refuses to appear in court, a lawyer will be appointed for him in accordance with the law in order to defend him in absentia. The proceedings will continue as planned in March.”

He added, “The Spanish judiciary asked Iraqi authorities [in December] whether they had started real investigations into the [2009] murders. Officials in Baghdad issued a response which the judge deemed it as insufficient, because they did not say when the claimed investigations were launched and what their outcome was.”

Dr. Garces added, “The Spanish court has reports from international organizations indicating that no investigations have actually been launched in Iraq. This has been seen as a violation of the Geneva Conventions.”

“These breaches of the Convention have continued after the July 2009 attacks to this day, especially in the form of psychological torture against the residents. Therefore, it is clear that no investigations have been launched [by Iraq] and abuses continue unabated. And this is something that is unacceptable in the context of international laws.”

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