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Thursday, July 29, 2004

MEK detainees in Iraq "protected persons" under Geneva Conventions

The Mujahedin-e-Khalq (variously The People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI) and National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA)) was designated a terrorist organisation by the US State Department. Amongst its more dubious actions, it was hosted by and supported Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war, and played important roles in the violent suppression of Kurdish and Shiite uprisings in 1991 and 1999. In December 2003, it was ordered to leave Iraq by the US-appointed Iraqi leadership, which decried the "black history of this terrorist organization."

Today it will be reported that members of the MEK captured in Iraq and held in Camp Ashraf will be given the statues of "protected persons" under the Geneva Convention by the Pentagon. To receive this, the group of 3800 detainees signed an agreement denouncing violence. This was returned with a letter from General Miller addressed to the "people of Ashraf" warmly congratulating them on their new status, noting that the agreement "sends a strong signal and is a powerful first step on the road to your final individual disposition".

Notable amongst the protections afforded to MEK members by this decision is their protection from expulsion.


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