Reporters Without Borders has condemned the Iraqi government’s “news blackout” imposed on Camp Ashraf, where scores of Iranian exiles were reportedly killed in an attack by government forces.
“To hide abuses committed against civilians, the security forces are denying journalists access to the camp,” Reporters Without Borders said in an announcement. “Anyone trying to take photographs of the clashes is being attacked in a systematic and targeted fashion.”
Yesterday, Iraqi forces stormed Camp Ashraf, a settlement where members of People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, a militant Iranian dissident group, have lived since the 1980s. The PMOI reported 28 people killed and hundreds of injuries.
Reporters Without Borders said several organizations have confirmed the camp is surrounded by armoured vehicles and journalists and media personnel are being held at the camp gates and denied entrance into the site.
The U.S. has called on Iraq to treat the residents of Camp Ashraf according to Iraqi laws and international humanitarian commitments.
Amnesty International has called for an independent investigation into yesterday’s attack. It announced that Iraqi authorities are responsible for providing peace and security to the Camp residents, which includes providing immediate and adequate medical attention.
Commander Al-Ghaidan, the head of Iran’s ground forces, has contended that the attack was instigated by Camp residents who had been throwing rocks and hurling themselves in front of the military vehicles.
Camp Ashraf is located 60km west of the Iranian border and 120 km north of Baghdad. It was set up in the 1980s to house the PMOI members who fought against the Islamic Republic.
After the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, U.S. forces took control of the Camp and disarmed the residents. Iraq has had control of the camp since 2009, and Iraqi authorities have called for the removal of the Iranian exiles and the dismantling of the settlement.