Hunger Strike Update from Camp Liberty
Hunger striker health conditions continue to worsen as they approach the 50th day of no food. Earlier this week a female hunger striker was rushed to the hospital to treat several health complications. Her determination and loyalty to the cause remains, however her health is rapidly declining. She is suffering from severe chest pains and she is semi-unconscious. Doctors report that her legs are cold and her heart pulse is irregular. She is dehydrated and there are signs of a disorder in her electrolytes.
The hunger strike by PMOI members at Camp Liberty started on September 1st after mass executions and kidnapping of seven at Camp Ashraf by Iraqi forces. Simultaneously, Iranians in Geneva, London, Berlin, Ottawa, and Melbourne continue their hunger strike. The strikers are holding strong to their beliefs and refuse to give up until the seven hostages are released.
As the strikers become more and more weak the release of the seven is a major priority. Many of the strikers are family members or close relatives of the victims of the September 1st massacre or the hostages. The seven are being held by Prime Minister Maliki’s Special Forces in the Baghdad Airport, Sharaf prison, and other in the Green Zone. The hostages are at risk of being extradited to the religious fascism ruling Iran.
In Melbourne, outside of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, five hunger strikers continue to demand intervention in Iraq for the seven hostages. These courageous individuals include Mr. Jahangir Hosseini, Mr. Mohammad Sadeghpour, Ms. Rooya Adel, Ms. Maryam Adel, and Ms. Hamideh Rafianejad.
Surviving on a fluids-only diet, the first striker began his fast on September 19, motivated by the crime against humanity at Camp Ashraf on September 1, 2013. After several days alone on hunger strike, Hosseini was joined by the other four hunger strikers to also demonstrate their solidarity.
The seven hostages are still being held by Iraqi Forces and are in grave danger of deportation to Tehran, where they would face torture and execution at the hands of the clerical dictatorship.
Because all Ashraf and Liberty residents are asylum seekers, have been granted the status of Protected Persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention and were guaranteed security by the Iraqi government in a written agreement with the UN in 2011, the supporters in Melbourne were outraged that no action has been taken to recover the seven hostages or to independently investigate the perpetrators of these crimes.
During the hunger strike the group has been visited by federal members of Parliament, Mr. Kelvin Thompson, Mr. Adam Bandt, Senator John Williams and Senator Gavin Marshall. Unfortunately, it’s seems these visits did not merit much media coverage. They have had limited coverage on the SBS Radio Farsi program and on Channel 10 News.
After being addressed by hunger strikers including Mr. Sadeghpour, the trade union leaders of the Victorian Trades Hall Council issued a public statement in support of the hunger strikers’ demands: that the seven abducted leaders be released into Camp Liberty, that UN Blue helmets be stationed at Camp Liberty to deter future missile attacks there, that the 3,150 Iranians at Camp Liberty be rapidly repatriated to safe third countries, and that there be an independent investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators of the September 1 crimes.
Despite a large number of letters, phone calls, emails and personal representations to the new Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Julie Bishop, the new Australian government has made no public statement on any of these points.
On Saturday October 5, there was an Iranian community rally at the site of the Hunger Strike in Melbourne. Trade union and church supporters attended to increase public awareness of the issues at stake.