Iranian opposition group fear extradition of seven exiles to Iran
PARIS - An Iranian opposition group said Tuesday that it feared seven Iranian exiles arrested in a camp in Iraq where 52 people died in recent violence were on the verge of being extradited to their country.
The Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (CNRI) claimed Iraqi soldiers launched the September 1 attack at Camp Ashraf, north of Baghdad, but Iraqi officials said the violence was the result of infighting.
"Seven Ashraf residents taken hostage during (the) September 1 massacre at Ashraf by the Iraqi forces are being held near Baghdad airport by the forces affiliated to the prime minister's office," it said.
"The hostages will reportedly be turned over to the Iranian regime in the next few days through (the) Al-Amara border region in southern Iraq," a CNRI statement said.
"The Iranian resistance calls on the US president, secretary of state, the UN secretary general and the UN high commissioner for refugees, who bear direct responsibility for the safety and security of the hostages, to intervene immediately to secure their release."
The United Nations and Western governments have condemned the bloodshed at the camp, but have been careful not to assign blame.
The CNRI said seven people had gone missing from the camp after the attack.
There are 42 remaining residents at Camp Ashraf. Two mortar attacks on the camp earlier this year killed at least eight people.
Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein allowed the Iranian rebel group People's Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran to set up the camp during his war with Iran in the 1980s.
The group was founded in the 1960s to oppose the shah of Iran, and after the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted him it took up arms against Iran's clerical rulers.
It says it has now laid down its arms and is working to overthrow the Islamic regime in Iran by peaceful means.