Monday, January 07, 2013


According to Associated France Press, Jan 4th thousands of Iraqis demonstrated in Baghdad on Friday, criticising Iraq’s premier and demanding the release of prisoners they say are wrongfully held.
The protesters held up banners calling for a mass prisoner release, stronger human rights provisions in
’s prisons, and a repeal of current anti-terror legislation.  
Baghdad, free, free! Iran, go away! ' they shouted, a reference to their belief that premier Nuri al-Maliki’s government is beholden to Iraq’s Shiite neighbour Iran
'How much longer will our children stay in prisons for no other reason than being Sunni , ' asked a man who gave his name as Abu Abdullah.
Another protester who identified herself as Umm Mohammed told
: 'My three children were arrested four years ago for no reason and I ask Maliki -- release them.'
The protests come amid a political deadlock between Maliki’s Shiite-led government and a secular Sunni-backed party that is in his cabinet but publicly opposes him.
The protests began on December 23, and were sparked by the arrest of at least nine guards of Finance Minister Rafa al-Essawi , a Sunni Arab and a leading member of the secular Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, which is part of Maliki’s unity government but frequently criticises him in public.


The Iranian regime hanged a prisoner in the city of Yassouj, central Iran, and issued death sentences for two inmates in Tehran. The charges raised against the two prisoners in Tehran are theft. These days the Iranian regime is arresting youths in large numbers on the pretext of being thieves and hoodlums.


Activist stages hunger strike in prison
Iran Focus reported on Jan. 2nd that Reza Shahabi, a member of the Board of Directors Tehran’s Bus Drivers Syndicate, has staged a hunger strike in prison for the past 15 days because officials have refused to give him temporary leave to get treatment for his ailments, including urgently-needed surgery. He has refrained from eating or taking medicine in protest against his mistreatment in prison. Shahabi was arrested in June 2011, and after a two-year detention, was sentenced to five years imprisonment by Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Court for acting against state national security. He is suffering from high blood pressure as well as arthritis, which have caused severe neck and back pain. The refusal of the authorities to provide proper treatment to dissidents in prison is designed to force their gradual death. In a letter to Sadeq Larijani, the Head of Judiciary, Mr. Shahabi described the horrific conditions of dissidents in prison, which has led to the death of a number of them, including Mohsen Dokmechi, an activist of the main Iranian opposition group, the Mujahedeen-e Khalq, as well as journalist Hoda Saber and blogger Sattar Beheshti.

Internal UN document: Camp Liberty does not meet UN standards
Associated France Press reported on Jan. 2nd that the Iranian opposition in exile on Wednesday presented a document attributed to the UN showing that refugee camp Liberty, near Baghdad, is not consistent with humanitarian standards, despite statements by representative of the organization in Iraq, Martin Kobler.
Nearly a year after the transfer of 3,400 Iranian refugees from Camp Ashraf (north of Baghdad) to Camp Liberty, the National Council of Resistance of Iran denounced the situation in Camp Liberty as 'critical' claiming that recent floods have made the camp 'uninhabitable.'
AFP added that according to a presented document attributed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which AFP has obtained a copy, on January 19, 2012 UNHCR refused to certify that Camp Liberty is conforming to humanitarian norms, particularly regarding supply water and electricity, and sewage systems.
Yet, on January 30, 2012, UNHCR considered that
Liberty was able to accommodate residents. And the Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Iraq, Martin Kobler, in a statement on January 31, 2012 stated that 'the structures and facilities of Camp Liberty comply with international humanitarian standards.'
In Paris Afshin Alavi, spokesman for the
NCRI said: 'This document reveals that Martin Kobler has consciously and deliberately in order to deceive the residents, issued a report fabricated on behalf of the UN and UNHCR. It is a blatant betrayal of human rights, the sacred principle of asylum and values on which the United Nations was founded.'
NCRI request accordingly 'an urgent and impartial investigation' on the actions of Mr. Kobler and ensuring the safety of residents of Camp Liberty.
Mr. Tahar Boumedra, former Algerian adviser to Martin Kobler, resigned from his responsibilities in May of 2012. Among issues, he judged that
Camp Liberty was a 'high security prison' in a military area and in a very dilapidated state.
It's worth mentioning that the residents of
Liberty have asked the head of the UN to be transferred back to Ashraf due to Liberty's intolerable condition. There are approximately 200 people remained in Camp Ashraf.