Iraqi Forces Beat Ashraf Residents

At 11:30 am on April 8, during the inspection of belongings of the fourth group of Ashraf residents for transfer to Liberty, Iraqi forces called SWAT attacked a number of residents with stones, sticks, iron bars and electric batons and beat them strongly. 29 residents including some women were injured.

Capt. Ahmad Khozeir and Lt. Heidar Azab, two Iraqi officers tied with the Iranian regime, who were actively involved in the massacres of July 2009 and April 2011, were present since the morning on the scene to persecute and harass residents, and disrupt loading of items. After insulting and swearing at Dr. Hassan Jazayeri, who has been Ashraf residents’ physician for past 26 years, the residents who were present protested, and these two Iraqi officers ordered SWAT forces to attack with a specific plan.

They broke the windows of the residents’ vehicles with stones and weapons stock and ripped their tires with knives. They took the driver of one of the vehicles off while his forehead was bleeding and took him with them. He was later released by other Iraqi officers. Subsequently the UN observers came to the scene and started taking pictures, interviewing the injured and taking notes of the event. In this attack Dr. Mojgan Mahdavi had her leg broken and Dr. Hassan Jazayeri was seriously beaten and his arm was injured. Martin Kobler, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Iraq, stated on April 10, in his report to the Security Council, “an incident took place at Camp New Iraq during the preparation for the fourth transfer of residents. A confrontation developed, UN monitors now report that the situation has returned to calm…. This incident however momentarily disrupted the relocation. But as we speak UN monitors are at Camp New Iraq and I am pleased to report that the next 400 residents will move immediately once the loading of personal belongings is completed”….

This planned attack on the anniversary of the massacre of April 8 well indicates that there is a suspicious attempt by the Iraqi government to seek excuses, create troubles and obstruct the peaceful solution. Following this incident, the Iranian regime’s media in Iran and Iraq made a false report stating, “Monafeqin terrorist group (The term used by Iranian regime to describe the PMOI) had clashes with Iraqi security forces during loading their belongings as they insisted to stay in Garrison Ashraf. Thirty six members of the Monafeqin were injured in this clash”. (Iranian regime’s Central news agency, Fars News Agency affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, April 9, 2012)

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Shahriar Kia is a member of the Iranian opposition (PMOI /MEK). He is a human rights activist and political analyst on Iran and the Middle East.