80 Days into the Camp Ashraf massacre crisis

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By Mohammad Bagheri, hunger striker in Camp Liberty

It’s been 80 days since Iraqi forces staged a massacre in Camp Ashraf, brutally murdering 52 of its residents.

It’s been 80 days since Iraqi forces have abducted seven of the camp’s residents – six women and a man – and have been torturing them in the secret prisons of the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Al-Maliki.

It’s been 80 days that the Iraqi government refuses to return the bodies of the 52 victims to the residents for burial.

It’s been 80 days that hundreds in Camp Liberty, Geneva, Berlin, Ottawa, London, Melbourne, and recently, Rome, are on hunger strike.

It’s been 80 days that demonstrations and sit-ins have been ongoing in several cities across the world.

It’s been 80 days that we’ve been writing letters to President Obama, Secretary Kerry, Ban Ki-moon, Ambassador Beecroft, Ms. Pillay, and Baroness Ashton, reminding them of their responsibilities and protesting to their silence and inaction towards this crime against humanity. But unfortunately, the US and UN – who were directly responsible for the security and protection of the 52 victims and continue to bear responsibility for the well-being of the hostages – have preferred to resort to silence and have done nothing to save the lives of the hostages. Instead, President Obama has gone as far as inviting the perpetrator of this crime to his office and shake hands with him.

Most recently, the murderers themselves (the Iraqi government) had the audacity to declare that it had investigated into the September 1 massacre, and quite predictably, it claimed that it was the residents of Ashraf themselves who turned against each other and killed each other. They seem to have forgotten that hundreds of pictures, footage and documents, and testimonies given by the survivors already prove that it was the Iraqi government who committed this crime.

The saddest part, though, is that the UN, who visited Ashraf on the morrow of the massacre and took photographs of the victims, still remains silent in face of these outrageous lies.

After five deadly massacres of Ashraf residents by Maliki’s forces and the repetitious inaction of the US and UN, we aren’t surprised by any of these developments. That is why we, the residents of Liberty, along with hundreds of supporters of freedom and democracy across the world, have gone on hunger strike to protest to this blatant injustice and to reach out to the world and awakened consciences in order to reveal the truth that has been hidden behind the curtains of appeasement and politics.

Indeed, we have sworn to break this treacherous silence. We have sworn to continue our hunger strike until the hostages are freed and the protection of Camp Liberty guaranteed.

We have sworn to see the culprits of this abhorring crime against humanity brought to justice.

Finally, I’d like to remind all readers of this article that the lives of seven hostages are in danger and time is of the essence. I reach out to all of you to join us in the cause to free the seven hostages and to remind the US and UN of their responsibilities in this regard.

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