Tuesday, 29 September 2009

47 MPs, Peers write to Iraqi PM demanding release of Iranian refugees

 The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom

Forty seven cross-party MPs and Peers jointly wrote to the Iraqi Prime Minister on Tuesday demanding Iraq releases 36 Iranian refugees whose release order was signed by an Iraqi judge on Monday after two months in detention and on hunger strike.

The 36 Iranian refugees, who are residents of Camp Ashraf with “protected persons” status under international law, have been on hunger strike for the past 64 days against their unlawful detention.

Writing on behalf of a majority of MPs and 200 members of the House of Lords, Lord Corbett of Castle Vale and his Parliamentary colleagues urged Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to "issue a directive ordering the immediate release of the 36 before any further harm comes about to them".

"The attack on the civilian population in Camp Ashraf by Iraq’s armed forces, in which these 36 were arbitrarily detained, was illegal. It has greatly tarnished Iraq’s image in the eyes of the international community. Any deterioration in the health of these refugees after two months on hunger strike is the responsibility of your government", the MPs and Peers wrote to Mr. al-Maliki.

The court in Khalis yesterday for the third time ordered the release of the 36 Ashraf residents. It definitively acquitted all of them of bogus charges of attacking police and entering Iraq illegally. The court affirmed that the judgement was final and not liable to further appeal.

Police in Diyala have unlawfully refused to release the 36.

"Your government has an obligation to release these innocent people both under Iraqi law and international law. Iraq’s right to uphold its sovereignty is not incompatible with respect for the human rights of the PMOI members in Ashraf and international law", the Parliamentarians wrote.

"In the quest for establishing democracy and freedom in Iraq, our country did not put its soldiers’ lives on the line and use taxpayers’ money so that the current Iraqi government would end up violating human rights and international laws and standards", they wrote.

The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom
29 September 2009

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