UN report documents al-Maliki government's gross rights violations against Ashraf residentsNCRI – In a report to the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, UN officials documented a series of crimes committed by the clerical regime in Iran as well as Iraqi forces on July 28 and 29, 2009, against 3,400 unarmed members an opposition movement residing in a refugee Camp called Ashraf near Baghdad.

The report echoes fears concerning the possibility of forcible return of Ashraf residents to Iran where they could face execution or torture.

UN officials are cited in the report for sending urgent appeals to the Iraqi government in this regard, including the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Chairperson of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The report, which was circulated at the 14th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, documents the deadly attacks by the forces of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in July 2009, which were carried out with the collaboration of the terrorist Qods Force of the Iranian regime, against Camp Ashraf. In its 16-article detailed account, it particularly points to the hostage taking and torture of 36 Ashraf residents in addition to the raid, all of which are considered gross examples of crimes against humanity.

In his report, Anand Grover, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, criticized the Nouri al-Maliki government for not responding to his communications or the joint questions of the UN officials.

These UN officials sent out three separate urgent appeals protesting to the killing of Ashraf residents by Iraqi forces, the lack of timely access to medical treatment which contributed to a higher number of deaths, firing at ambulances when they were transporting patients, illegal detentions, ill treatment and abuses of 36 hostages and the prevention of their release despite definitive court rulings.

On October 1, the report says, the UN special rapporteurs underlined the excessive use of force by Iraqi security forces during the July 2009 in Camp Ashraf, which resulted “in the death of 11 residents of Camp Ashraf and the wounding of over 200.”

“Iraqi armed forces also drove recklessly at high speeds through gathered crowds, running over some of the individuals,” the report says. “25 individuals with injuries sustained from being hit or run over by vehicles.”

They used “different means in order to disperse the crowd, including water canons, batons, batons with nails, metal rods, cricket bats, chains, sickles, axes, teargas and sound grenades. It was reported that the Iraqi security forces also made use of firearms against the camp residents and that the shooting was targeted.”

The report particularly highlights the deliberate shooting of unarmed residents by Iraqi forces. Six of the 11 residents who lost their lives were killed by gunshots, while 23 of the hundreds of individuals injured sustained gunshot wounds. “It was reported that some of the dead were killed intentionally, having been struck by a single bullet to the head or chest.”

The UN report also says that Iraqi security forces prevented Iraqi doctors from entering Camp Ashraf during the raid and for several days afterwards. Moreover, “The Camp Ashraf ambulance also was shot at several times during the attack, as doctors present in the camp were trying to take wounded residents to Camp Ashraf hospital.”

“Furthermore, Iraqi armed forces allegedly took a large number of goods belonging to the residents including generators, fans, tables, chairs and cars,” the report adds.

On August 7, 2009, the UN officials also sent an urgent appeal to the Iraqi government regarding the detention of 36 Ashraf residents. While in detention, the report says, these men were “beaten by the police with wooden truncheons and metal cables on their chests, heads and hands that resulted in seven people being seriously injured (broken arms, hands and fingers, and fractures of back and head bones).”

According to the report, the UN officials sent another urgent appeal on October 1, 2009, when the Maliki government refused to release the detainees despite court orders. At the time, they were being held at a police station in the town of Al-Khalis, Diyala Province, north of Baghdad, “despite a release order issued by the investigative judge of the criminal court of Diyala Province.”

“The investigative judge confirmed on 16 September 2009 his previous ruling of 24 August 2009, ordering the release of these persons on the grounds that they had no charges to answer.”

Even the public prosecutor had no objection to their release without charge, the report adds. “However, for unknown reasons, the local police authorities in the town of Al-Khalis continued to refuse to release the detainees. Police authorities have not provided any reason or legal justification for the continued detention of these persons.”

Article 160 of the report lists the names of the 36 hostages the Iraqi government took from Ashraf, emphasizing that most of them are in a poor state of health and have been denied adequate medical treatment. Article 162, repeats for the third time, “The Special Rapporteur regrets that at the time of the finalization of the report, the Government has not transmitted any reply to his communication.”


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