Seven years following a horrific and unprovoked attack on Camp Ashraf, Iraq, by Iraqi forces under the control of the Iranian regime, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) are still waiting for justice.
In the September 1, 2013 attack, 52 MEK members were killed, with many more injured, and six women and one man were kidnapped; presumably taken to Iran. All of the 101 MEK members there – most had been forcibly moved to Camp Liberty at this time – had protected person status under the Geneva Convention.
Struan Stevenson, Coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change (CIC), described the attack in his book, “Self-Sacrifice: Life with the Iranian Mojahedin”.
He wrote: “Around midnight on Saturday 31 August 2013, several battalions of the Iraqi military and special SWAT forces, acting on orders directly from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, stormed the camp under cover of darkness. The attack began at 6 AM on 1 September. Anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades and mortars were fired into the sleeping quarters of the refugee camp, and the fleeing residents were then machine-gunned. 52 deaths and dozens of severe injuries resulted. Many of the residents were handcuffed and then summarily executed by being shot in the back of the head. Nine seriously injured residents were carried to the camp clinic by their colleagues but were then executed by Iraqi military personnel on their hospital beds. Seven injured residents, six women, and one man were kidnapped.”
The intention, he explained, was to kill everyone except for a few hostages.
This is horrific, but worse still was the lack of media coverage and international outrage; likely because the world was distracted by the Syrian Civil War, in which the mullahs supported Bashar Assad. In fact, Stevenson believes the timing was planned to bury the attack, but still, having seen footage of the attack on the MEK, he does not see how the world could ignore it.
Of course, there were plenty of warnings of an attack on the MEK by the regime, which European and American officials dismissed.
Stevenson wrote: “This final massacre at Ashraf was as avoidable as it was predictable; myself and many members of parliament, congressmen, senators and leading judicial and military figures in Europe and America had warned for months that a massacre was imminent. In late August, intelligence reports from inside Iran made clear that the Mullahs saw the Syrian crisis and the West’s ineffectiveness as ideal cover for a brutal strike… no action was taken to protect the unarmed [MEK members] in Ashraf, who subsequently forfeited their lives.”
United Nations Deputy Special Representative for Iraq György Busztin visited Camp Ashraf the day after the massacre.
The next day, his report read: “Inside the camp, the delegation witnessed 52 bodies in a makeshift morgue. All the deceased appeared to have suffered gunshot wounds, the majority of them in the head and the upper body, and several with their hands tied. The delegation also saw several damaged buildings, including one burnt, and was shown quantities of explosives.”
No one has yet been held accountable for this attack on the MEK despite repeated calls for an independent investigation.