Amnesty blasts Iraq over treatment of Iran exiles
Amnesty International on Friday warned that Iraq's plans to move an Iranian opposition group to a former desert detention camp in the country's remote south would put them at risk of arbitrary arrest and torture.
Iraq's Shiite-led government has taken an increasingly hard line toward the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, not wanting to risk its warming relations with its powerful Shiite neighbour Iran.
The exiles had been hosted for years by Saddam Hussein, who allowed the Iranians to establish a base for launching raids into Iran during the two neighbours' eight-year war. After the US-led invasion in 2003, the group was put under watch.
Iraq announced plans Thursday to move the roughly 3,500 residents from their camp in northeastern Iraq to the desert south. In July, Iraqi security forces raided Camp Ashraf and touched off riots that killed 11 people.
Amnesty International said it feared the "forced removals of the residents of Camp Ashraf would put them at risk of arbitrary arrest, torture or other forms of ill-treatment and unlawful killing."
The Iraqi plan calls for moving the exiles to a remote outpost in Neqrat al-Salman, about 120 km west of the southern city of Basra. It was used for decades as a detention centre where Saddam banished political opponents.