From the mullahs’ prisons to the UN’s

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By Ebrahim Mir Seyyedi, hunger striker in Camp Liberty

During the many years I spent in the prisons of Khomeini in Iran, I witnessed and experienced terrible things at the hands of the Iranian regime’s torturers. I saw the hangings and the lashings of the young and innocent men and women whose only crime was to raise their voices for freedom and democracy. They had the guts to say that they wanted to live in freedom and would not give in to the dictatorship of the mullahs, and they paid the price with their lives.

Even though more than three decades have passed since that time, I still bear the scars of that horrible experience on my body and soul, and I still suffer from the effects of the torture that I subdued in Khomeini’s prisons. The right side of my face became paralyzed during that time, and after more than thirty years, it still hasn’t healed. I saw with my own eyes how 15-year-old teenagers were dragged to the gallows by prison guards, and I watched young college students being strapped to torture-beds and whipped within an inch of their lives. Their names have forever been etched in my mind.

Now, after three decades, the atrocities are being repeated in Camps Ashraf and Liberty in Iraq. The only difference is that this time it’s happening right before the eyes of the international community, before the eyes of the United Nations and United States. But unfortunately, they satisfy themselves with merely condemning the crimes against humanity and forgetting about it.

Nearly three months have passed from the horrendous massacre in Camp Ashraf on September 1st, when the Iraqi forces broke into the camp, murdered 52 residents and abducted seven others. At this very moment, the seven hostages – six of whom are women – are enduring torment in the prisons of Nouri Al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister. As a former prisoner, I know exactly how they are feeling and what they are enduring. The US and UN, who had direct responsibility for the safety and security of those people, did nothing to prevent the attack. And afterwards, they took no action to secure the release of the hostages. They didn’t even sanction an independent investigation into the crime, and instead of relying on the information provided by the survivors of the attack, the US State Department preferred to believe the claims of the perpetrators – the Iraqi authorities – about not having taken part in the attack or having the hostages in their custody.

The rest of us in a prison ironically called “Camp Liberty.” We are totally besieged by the same forces that conducted the attack in Camp Ashraf and we have no security here. Despite the explicit assurances by the US and UN about our safety, we’ve been targeted by rockets three times and might be attacked again at any moment. As always, the US and UN are standing aside and are doing nothing to carry out their own promises.

Therefore I turn to you, the awakened consciences of humanity across the world. Don’t let human rights be stifled by dirty political deals and interests. Send our message across the world. The seven hostages must be freed and this tragedy must end before more innocent lives are lost.



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