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Iranian exiles call for probe of Camp Ashraf attack

- The Washington Times - Monday, December 9, 2013

Iranian dissidents Monday marked the 100th day since gunmen killed 52 Iranians in an Iraqi refugee camp, as U.N. officials warned that Iraq is violating human rights treaties by failing to account for seven hostages kidnapped in the Sept. 1 raid.

The dissidents of the National Council of Resistance of Iran blame Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for authorizing the raid on Camp Ashraf to appease Iran's theocratic government. They also complain that the State Department is failing to press Mr. al-Maliki for an investigation into the raid and for the release of the six women and one man taken in the assault.

"A hundred days have now passed from that horrible incident. What has the U.S. government done? Nothing!" one of the dissidents, Ebrahim Mir Seyyedi, wrote in an open letter Monday. "Not only has the U.S. government turned a blind eye on this terrible crime against humanity, but it is also trying to legally justify its idleness."

The State Department had no immediate comment Monday.

Mr. Seyyedi is among hundreds of Iranian dissidents who have been on hunger strikes to demand an international investigation into the attack. Several are in their second week of a hunger strike outside the White House.

The 100 dissidents in Camp Ashraf, north of Baghdad, and more than 3,000 others now at Camp Liberty, near the Baghdad International Airport, were under U.S. protection until the Obama administration transferred them to Iraqi control in 2009. The dissidents made up the former armed wing of the Paris-based Iranian resistance until U.S. troops disarmed them in the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

U.N. officials in Geneva on Monday called on Baghdad to investigate the attack, in which many of the victims were shot the head execution-style.

The U.N. Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances noted accusations that the gunmen were Iraqi security troops operating under government orders. Camp Ashraf was guarded by Iraqi soldiers.

"International law clearly requires governments to ensure that all allegations of killings are investigated in a prompt, effective and impartial manner, irrespective of who the perpetrator is," said Christof Heyns, a U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

Alfred de Zayas, another U.N. expert, warned Mr. Maliki that his government risks violating treaties it has signed.

"Grave crimes of this nature, and the impunity that has accompanied them, entail violations of numerous international treaty provisions and constitute an assault on the rule of law, an affront to the international community and a threat to the international order," he said.

The State Department's most recent statement on the issue was on Sept. 22, when it denied claims by the Iranian resistance that a U.S. delegation had visited the hostages.

"Furthermore, we have no credible information indicating that the government of Iraq was or is involved with any activities regarding the abduction or detention of these missing individuals," said the State Department, which repeatedly has condemned the attack since Sept. 1.

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