UN rights chief seeks probe into Iranian exiles` camp raid

Last Updated: Friday, April 15, 2011 - 23:46

Geneva: United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay on Friday called for an independent inquiry into the Iraqi military`s raid at an Iranian exiles` camp which left at least 34 people dead.

"The Iraqi military were well aware of the risks
attached to launching an operation like this in Ashraf,"
Pillay said, referring to the name of the camp located in the
north of Baghdad.

"There is no possible excuse for this number of
casualties. There must be a full, independent and transparent
inquiry, and any person found responsible for use of excessive
force should be prosecuted."

The People`s Mujahedeen of Iran, which runs the camp,
said that 300 people had been wounded in the assault last
Friday and that there had been more attacks since.

Iraqi security forces raided the camp as tensions
between the opponents of Iran`s clerical regime and the Iraqi
authorities reached new heights.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali Dabbagh denied the
military carried out the killings and said authorities would
hold their own investigation.

Pillay said that while details on the deadly raid were
only beginning to emerge, it "seems certain that at least 34
people were killed in Camp Ashraf, including seven or more

"Most were shot, and some appear to have been crushed
to death, presumably by vehicles," she noted.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged
governments to find a long-term solution for the inhabitants
of the camp.

"I am well aware that this is a contentious group,
with a complicated history, but leaving them to fester in Camp
Ashraf was never going to be a solution," she noted.

"Clearly, since they are unable to go back to Iran,
and are in danger in Iraq, the solution is most likely to
involve moving them to third countries," she added.

The left-wing People`s Mujahedeen was founded in 1965
to oppose the Shah of Iran but after the Islamic revolution in
1979 took up arms against the clerical regime. The group is on
the US government terrorist list.

Camp Ashraf was disarmed following the US-led invasion
of Iraq in 2003 and has become a mounting problem for Iraqi
authorities since US forces handed over security for the camp
last year.


First Published: Friday, April 15, 2011 - 23:46

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