Nouri Al-Maleki

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maleki has denied recent allegations by the Iranian dissident group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran that his government has kidnapped seven members of the exiled group in Iraq.

Nouri Al-Maleki accused the PMOI of spreading lies and he stressed that the Iraqi government has never taken any action against this group.

The People’s Mojahedin assisted Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s and its members were settled at Camp Ashraf by the Hussein government. With the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the fall of Saddam Hussein, the new Iraqi government called for the removal of the dissident group from its territories.

The group has shown reluctance to leave Camp Ashraf, but finally, through mediation by the UN and the U.S., most of its members were moved to Camp Liberty to await resettlement in other countries as refugees.

One hundred members of the group still remained at Camp Ashraf until September 1, when an attack claimed the lives of more than 40 of them.

The PMOI has accused the Iraqi government of involvement in the attack and it has now also accused Iraq of kidnapping seven members, whom they say are missing after the attack. The group claims that the Iraqi government plans to hand them over to the Iranian government.

Nouri Al-Maleki claims Iraqi forces have always acted as protectors of Camp Ashraf and adds that the PMOI did not allow the government officials to enter the premises to investigate the incident.

Camp Ashraf has now been completely evacuated by order of the Iraqi government.