WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - September 20, 2013) - In breaking news Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki contradicted his own Ministry of Human Rights admission that Iraq had taken seven innocent civilians hostage during its September 1, 2013 attack on Camp Ashraf. In a statement on his official website, al-Maliki today denied holding the seven Ashraf hostages, a startling reversal from an earlier government admission.
In a September 13 statement, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) declared, "According to reports reaching UNHCR, seven individuals formerly residing in Camp New Iraq disappeared from the Camp on 1 September, are being held somewhere in Iraq and may be at risk of being returned involuntarily to Iran. These seven are all known by UNHCR to be asylum-seekers, and the agency hopes to have an opportunity to interview them. In light of the numerous and persistent reports over the past week that these individuals may be at risk of forced return to Iran, UNHCR calls upon the Government of Iraq to locate them, to ensure their physical security, and to safeguard them against return to Iran against their will."
Although the United Nations has called for a full investigation into the attacks, al-Maliki also suggested that the People's Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) has prevented any sort of formal investigation into the case.
Shahin Gobadi, spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the PMOI commented that "any suggestion that the PMOI is hindering a full and complete investigation into these terrible crimes is ludicrous. We have been aggressively urging the UN, the U.S. and the EU to compel the Iraqi government to both allow this investigation and to release these innocent hostages."
Madame Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR) for the European Union, wrote to the European Parliament Vice-President saying, "We have reason to believe that up to seven camp residents are being held in captivity near Baghdad, and there is a significant risk that they could be sent to Iran."
"We have reason to believe that the hostages being held by the Iraqi government will be transferred to Tehran perhaps as soon as 5 a.m. GMT or be subjected to torture for false confession against the organization and its leadership," said Gobadi.
Speaking at a conference in Geneva, NCRI President-elect, Maryam Rajavi called on President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman, EU High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Pillay, EU High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Beth Jones, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Robert Beecroft to take urgent action to prevent the transfer of refugees currently being held hostage to the Iranian regime and transgression of the non-refoulement principle.
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INU features news, analysis and commentary on events inside Iran and the Iranian Diaspora to audiences around the world. News and information is provided in cooperation with the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the parliament in exile of the Iranian Resistance and the PMOI/MEK. Analyses on developments on Iran and the region are provided by INU experts. Media and researchers are welcome to use INU news and commentaries, with attribution made to IranNewsUpdate.com