Press release
Today, MEPs from all political groups in the European Parliament urged the leadership of the EU and the member states to force the Iraqi government to release the 7 hostages, including 6 women, who were abducted by Iraqi government forces on 1 September during the massacre in camp Ashraf. On that day 52 defenceless members of the Iranian opposition PMOI-MEK were executed by Iraqi special forces. The 42 remaining residents, who are eye witnesses to this atrocity, have been transferred to camp Liberty near Baghdad airport, where 3000 Iranian refugees are living under intolerable conditions imposed by the Iraq authorities.

On 10 October the European Parliament unanimously adopted a strong resolution in Iraq which it “Strongly condemned” that attack and called for the “immediate and unconditional release” of the 7 hostages held in Baghdad by Iraq.

Hundreds of Iranians have been on hunger strike since the attack in several locations. Many of them have now entered a critical phase after 8 weeks of refusing to eat food. We are greatly concerned about their health.

We strongly reject the absurd claims by the Iraqi government who have denied any role in the massacre or knowledge about the whereabouts of the 7 hostages! Such claims, which have recently been repeated in some diplomatic circles, are absolutely unacceptable and an insult to our intelligence; there are more than enough facts and video clips and eye witnesses accounts to prove the Iraqi government‘s role in this cold blooded mass murder and kidnapping.

We also strongly reject some calls on Iraq to investigate this massacre. It is like asking Bashar Assad to investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria! We repeat our just demand for an independent international investigation without the interference of the Iraqi government.

As the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al_maliki will be going to the White House on 1 November, we call on President Obama not to meet him before the release of the 7 hostages and a written guarantee from him not to harm further the remaining 3000 Iranian asylum seekers and refugees in camp Liberty.

The text of the statement, signed by over 150 European lawmakers, is attached. Amongst the signatories, there are 5 vice-presidents of the European Parliament: Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Roberta Angelilli, Oldrich Vlasak, Alexander Alvaro and László Surján and many leading MEPs such as Louis Michel (ALDE) former Vice-President of the European Commission and former Belgian deputy prime minister, Struan Stevenson (ECR), Søren Søndergaard (GUE/NGL), Stephen Hughes, First Vice-President of Socialists-Democrats group (S-D) and José Bové, the French environmentalist (Greens).

Struan Stevenson MEP

President, European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq