About the Iranian political refugees on hunger strike
Posted by clandestina on 10 November 2009
This is about the Political refugees from Iran hunger strike in Athens.
The Iranian political refugees are ex-members of P.M.O.I. They were recruited from countries near Iran, where they had found shelter, after being chased by Khomeini’s regime and were transported to a camp in Iraq for military training. They joined the organization believing that they would fight for political change and the freedom of their people. But, in the camp they encounter a very illiberal system, totally different with their personal beliefs, humiliations, constant brainwashing in order to exalt the organization’s leader and many times, torture and imprisonments. Now, they consider P.M.O.I. to be even worse than Khomeini himself.
In 2002, P.M.O.I. signed a secret agreement with U.S.A., which has invaded Iraq, according to which Americans had to keep for 5 years all the dissidents of the organization in a secret prison camp (T.I.P.F.), 50 kilometres outside Bagdad, and P.M.O.I. had to give information about Iran in return. In this prison, they suffered heavy torture again until they were set free in 2007, after the agreement expired. The United Nations’ High Committee for Refugees recognized them as political refugees in 2006 after interview via satellite, while they were still in prison.
The following is the testimony of one of the hunger strikers, as he wrote it:
“After the war between U.S.A and Iraq, one of the American commanders (general Odierno) came to our base, camp Ashraf near Bagdad , and told us that we can not be armed anymore and that they will help the ones of us, who want to go to other countries.
Note that this was a lie from the start because P.M.O.I. (our former organization) had secretly signed an agreement with the Americans to hold us captives for 5 years. As a result, instead of helping us leave Iraq they put as in a camp called T.I.P.F. (Temporary Interview & Protection Facility). We were supposed to stay there for 2 or 3 months but were set free 5 years later.
This “camp” was no different than Guantanamo prison. We were dressed in uniforms and we lived in tents. We were allowed to take one 3 minutes shower every 10 days and our food was M.R.E. (Meal Ready to Eat), which is provided to the American soldiers when they take part in military operations and is therefore not suitable for long-term consumption. They also used us for testing new American drugs. When we had headaches or sleeping disorders they gave us pills with false names without limitations for pills per day. I particularly remember a painkiller called oltrom which we could take 10 or 20 times per day.As a result, lots of us developed psychological problems. Some times they didn’t provide us new razors to shave and diseases were transferred from one to another through the old and common razors.
For 2 years no one knew that there was a prison in this part of the world until 5 persons escaped from the “camp” and told to BBC radio and human rights organizations, like Red Cross, United Nations High Committee for Refugees etc., that there is a top secret prison 50 kilometers outside Bagdad. When the Americans were informed about this incident they removed the black flag, which meant that this was a P.O.W. (prisoners of war) camp, they brought a generator and built other facilities in order to alter the prison image and trick human rights organizations. Then UNHCR wanted to have an interview with us but the Americans allowed it one year later. The interview took place via satellite because the Americans claimed that it was unsafe for the UNHCR members to come in Iraq. On the 5th of May 2006 we were finally recognized as political refugees.
Despite that fact, the U.S. army refused to send our case files to the countries, which accept refugees. The government of Iraq started then to push U.S. army to set us free. Finally in December of 2007 the prison gate opened and we were allowed to leave in groups of 4-5 people without any documents.
I was in the third group and managed through a lot of trouble to arrive to the Kurdish area of Iraq. There I paid a smuggler to help me enter Turkey illegally. I went to the UNHCR ‘s office in Ankara where I was given 2 papers certifying that I am a refugee and I was sent to Afion city to introduce myself to the local police. At first I was welcomed but a week later I was arrested because Turkey has signed a security contract with Iran and I was now considered a threat for Turkey’s national security. They took me to the borders with Iraq.”
To be continued…