Dr. Tahar Boumedra, the former Head of Human Rights Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq responded to real-time questions about the September 1, 2013 attack on Camp Ashraf and the status of the seven hostages taken by the Iraqi government.  Dr. Boumedra was responsible for the Ashraf dossier for more than three years.

A resounding theme of Dr. Boumedra’s chat was requesting the UN to conduct an impartial and thorough investigation on the attack on Camp Ashraf.  He reiterated that the attack on Camp Ashraf was committed by the Iraqi army and under direct supervision of the Prime Minister’s office.

Dr. Boumedra called on the international community, particularly the UN and U.S. embassy in Baghdad and President Obama to demand Prime Minister of Iraq, Maliki, to release the hostages.  “If Obama raises the issue of the seven hostages, that in itself would put tremendous pressure on Maliki to free the hostages,” he said.  “Congress should implement what some of its members have already requested – to cut down on U.S. aid to the Iraqi government until they agree to free the hostages,” he added.

Many participants were curious about the health and safety of the hostages.  Dr. Boumedra shed light onto this situation saying, “The seven are being held in secret detention places.  We do not know if anybody is visiting them.  Usually in these cases it would be the International Committee of the Red Cross {to visit them}.”

Dr. Boumedra concluded his hour long chat calling on the international community to take action, “The freedom of the seven depends on the mobilization of the international civil society and it will be a shame if anything happens to them.  It will especially be a shame on the Iraqi government and the United Nations.”

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