by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Dec 15, 2011
Four Iranian exiles have filed a complaint in US court against senior Iranian and Iraqi officials for their alleged role in an April attack on Camp Ashraf, a site for Iranian dissidents in Iraq.
The Iranians, three of whom received political asylum in the United States and another resided in the United States, claim they suffered "heavy injuries" during an April 8 attack on Camp Ashraf, according to the complaint filed Tuesday in US District Court in Washington.
The site north of Baghdad houses some 3,400 Iranian refugees hostile to the regime in Tehran. It is controlled by the People's Mujahedeen, which Washington blacklists as a terrorist group.
In their civil lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim they were victims of "assault and battery, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress" in the attack by Iraqi forces. They also claim Iranian forces participated.
The lawsuit accuses Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the leadership of the Quds force -- the shadowy special operations unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards that operates abroad -- as well as senior Iraqi military officials of having "conspired" with and exercised "command and control over the perpetrators of torture and attacks against the unarmed civilians of Camp Ashraf."
The plaintiffs demand damages for "torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and crimes against humanity as violations of international and domestic law."
The controversial April raid by Iraqi security forces left at least 36 people dead and scores injured. Residents said the Iraqi forces attacked them.
Saddam Hussein allowed the rebel People's Mujahedeen to set up the camp in the 1980s when his forces were at war with Iran, and the camp came under US military protection when US-led forces toppled Saddam in 2003.
US forces, however, handed over security responsibility to Baghdad authorities in January 2009.
The Iraqi government says the camp is a threat to its relations with neighboring Iran and is demanding that it close by December 31.
But the United Nations appealed last week for an extension to the deadline to allow more time in negotiations with the camp's residents, who are refusing to move unless they are given UN protection.
Decision to close Iran exile camp 'irreversible': Iraq PM
Camp Ashraf, north of Baghdad, houses some 3,400 Iranian refugees hostile to the regime in Tehran. It is controlled by the People's Mujahedeen, which Washington blacklists as a terrorist group.
"The decision we made is irreversible, especially because this organisation refused the visit of a UN representative to Camp Ashraf," Maliki said.
"They've rejected the UN plan, which means this is a criminal gang and we cannot permit a criminal gang to remain here," he added.
Saddam Hussein allowed the rebel People's Mujahedeen to set up the camp when his forces were at war with Iran in the 1980s.
When Saddam was overthrown in the US-led invasion of 2003, the camp came under US military protection but US forces handed over security responsiblity to the Baghdad authorities in January 2009.
The Iraqi government says the camp is a threat to its relations with neighbouring Iran and is damanding that it close by December 31.
But last week the United Nations appealed for an extension to the deadline to allow more time for a solution to be negotiated with the camp's residents who are refusing to move unless they are given UN protection.
The positions of the residents and the government "remain far apart," the UN envoy to Iraq, Martin Kobler, told the UN Security Council, appealing to the international community to find new homes for the exiles.
In Paris, an exile Iranian group challenged Maliki's statement that UN officials were not allowed to visit the camp.
"Last week, UN representatives were able to enter Ashraf two times," said Mohamad Mohadessine, an official of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a group opposed to the Tehran regime.
"By these abject lies, Maliki does nothing other than prepare the terrain for a massacre of the residents of Ashraf and to counter muliple international apeals to delay the closing of Ashraf," he added in a statement.
The camp has been in the spotlight since a controversial April raid by Iraqi security forces left at least 36 people dead and scores injured. Residents said the Iraqi forces attacked them.
Iraq: The first technology war of the 21st century
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US forces mark end of Iraq mission
Baghdad (AFP) Dec 15, 2011
US forces formally marked the end of their mission in Iraq with a low-key ceremony near Baghdad on Thursday, after nearly nine years of divisive war that began with the invasion to oust Saddam Hussein. The "casing of the colours" near the airport, the first site the US occupied in Baghdad in 2003, comes with around 4,000 US soldiers still in Iraq, all of whom will depart in the coming days. ... read more
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