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Iraqi Government Secretly Buried the 52 Iranian Dissidents Killed in Camp Ashraf in an undisclosed location
The secret burial took place despite 164 days of protest from Camp Liberty residents, human rights defenders, and the families of the victims.
Camp Ashraf, Iraq, has been home to Iranian dissidents for 25 years. On September 1st, 2013, Iraqi Government forces stormed Camp Ashraf. They killed 52 defenseless residents, protected persons according to Geneva Conventions, and took 7 as hostages.
Resident representatives obtained information about this secret burial and when they confronted Iraqi government officials it was confirmed in a February 11th meeting that there was already mass burial of the 52 dead in Camp Ashraf. The government officials offered no details about when or where the burial took place.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, declared: “The clandestine burial of the bodies of the martyrs at an unspecified time and an undisclosed location in the absence of members of their families, as well as the absence and even knowledge of the UN representative who had officially received the bodies of the martyrs in Ashraf on September 2, was carried out to destroy the evidence and save the murderers from a trial and punishment for crime against humanity. This is bare proof of the Iraqi government’s complete responsibility for crime against humanity in Ashraf.”
“This infamous and anti-human act reminds of the massacre of political prisoners by Khomeini’s decree back in 1988 and their secret overnight burial in mass graves”, Rajavi elaborated.
Rajavi stressed the need for an independent investigation by the International Criminal Court into the mass execution and hostage-taking in Ashraf. She called for the referral of the case to this court by the United Nations Security Council.
Iraqi Prime Minsiter Nouri-al Maliki is attempting to destroy the evidence of his country’s crimes against humanity. International organizations including the European Parliament, U.S. House and Senate, six specialist organs of the UN, the Spanish Court, Amnesty International and many other human rights activists regarding the Government of Iraq responsible for the murder of 52 innocent people in Camp Ashraf.
The bodies of the 52 martyrs were handed over to Mr. Francesco Motta, UNAMI Chief of Human Rights Office, on 2 September 2013, at the request of Mr. Gyorgy Busztin, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq. The following excerpt is from a receipt signed by Mr. Motta:
“Based on agreement between the representative of the residents of Ashraf and UNAMI, on Sep 2, 2013, fifty two bodies of martyrs who were killed by bullet shots in the massacre of September 1, 2013, were delivered in the presence of Mr. Francesco Motta, Chief of UNAMI Human Rights Office, to be kept in the Baquba Hospital until an impartial international observer will be present for autopsy.”
In November 2013, families of the martyrs killed in Ashraf filed complaints with the Iraqi Judiciary, demanding the perpetrators of this massacre be punished. They also sought the right to receive the corpses of their slain family members.
More than 75 letters were sent to the government, all critical of the massacre. Moreover, another 75 letters were sent out by the residents’ lawyers to the same purpose and there were also 62 phone calls and many meetings. Over the last 6 months a broad range of people and organizations called for the bodies of the 52 victims be returned to their families, including US and UN officials in Camp Liberty, Washington, Geneva, New York and Brussels, the opinions of 69 Camp Liberty Daily Reports and representatives of residents in and out of Iraq.
In a statement made on December 26th the Iranian Resistance drew on documents and credible evidence from inside Iran to disclose that Maliki is obstructing the announcement of the coroner’s office reports and the handover of the martyrs’ corpses to their families in Camp Liberty. These delays were made to avoid the consequences of their crimes against humanity. According to these documents:
“Autopsy on all bodies was performed on September 8 and 9 by the responsible physician at Baghdad Coroner’s Office… In part of the autopsy reports that were accessible, details of the wounds and reason of death of each person has been put in ink with most stating ‘cause of death’ as ‘bullet wound’ to the head. In numerous cases in the coroner’s office reports… it is explicitly stated that ‘hands were tied in the back by metal handcuffs’. This is while Maliki’s sham investigations had claimed that no handcuffs were seen on the bodies of the death!”