Maliki Government Obstructs Return of Zahra Hosseini Mehr-Sefat’s Body

Zahra Hosseini Mehr-Sefat, a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran and the leadership cadre of the PMOI, with a record of over 30 years of struggle within the ranks of the PMOI, passed away on September 21st following two heart surgeries at Al-Mukhtar Hospital in Baghdad.

Ms. Zahra Hosseini Mehr-Sefat, 55, was suffering from heart disease since 2001 and had undergone balloon and meshing operations. Her situation turned critical in the last two years during the medical siege of Ashraf. Numerously, her calls to specialist medical centers were obstructed by the Iraqi Prime Ministry Committee charged with suppression of Ashraf residents.

Previously, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, had made an urgent call for the transfer of Ms. Zahra Mehr-Sefat to Europe for medical treatment. Mrs. Rajavi expressed her deep sorrow and offered her condolences to the family and comrades of this Ashraf resident. She pointed out: “Surely, if Zahra had free access to medical services or if her transfer to EU states would have been possible, she would have been alive today.”

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Although this heroine passed away on Wednesday morning, September 21, up to this day, the Maliki government has obstructed the return her body to Ashraf. This is despite numerous attempts and the many calls made by Ashraf residents and their informing UN officials about the issue. This is a joint conspiracy with the Iranian regime’s embassy in Baghdad to harass Ashraf residents as much as possible.

Physicians of Al-Mukhtar Hospital issued the death certificate on that same day of September 21. However, Iraqi functionaries, ordered by the Iraqi Prime Ministry Committee charged with suppression of Ashraf residents, transferred the body to a hospital in Baquba under the pretext of conducting legal procedures and issuing burial permit by a judge.

Following the issuance of the certificate by the hospital, the police officer who had transferred the patient from Ashraf to the hospital on an emergency basis, registered his statements with the judge. Subsequent to hearing the statements by the police officer, the judge issued the burial certificate.

According to legal procedures, even if a judge determines that an autopsy is needed, the autopsy should be done on the same day or the day after. Therefore, the duration necessary for administrative and legal procedures is no more than two to three days.

However, in the case of Ms. Mehr-Sefat, contrary to social laws and Islamic norms, and despite daily calls by her relatives and the legal advisor of Ashraf residents to the police station, they postponed the handover of her body until October 9. The body was brought to the New Iraq Hospital located near Ashraf’s entrance gate on October 9; however, contrary to normal procedures, they refused to hand over the body to the relatives who had gone to the location of Iraqi forces accompanied by their legal advisor. Using the excuse that the deceased has no next to kin in Ashraf, the Iraqi Prime Ministry Committee charged with suppression of Ashraf residents, ordered the return of the body to Baquba.

Subsequent investigations revealed that the clerical regime’s embassy has ordered the body to be transferred to Iran to be handed over to her “next of kin.”