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Iranian dissidents taken hostage in Iraq: Ashton fears extradition to Tehran

October 03, 2013

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has warned of the "significant risk" that seven Iranian dissidents held in Iraq could be sent to Tehran and has called for their immediate release.

"We have reason to believe that up to seven camp residents are being held in captivity near Baghdad, and that there is a significant risk that they could be sent to Iran," Ashton said in a letter seen by AFP that was sent on September 19 to European MP Alejo Vidal Quadras.

"I fully share your concerns about the fate of these individuals," she wrote, adding that she had raised the issue with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and asked for their release.

The seven Iranian exiles, members of the People's Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran (PMOI), disappeared during the September 1 violence in Camp Ashraf, northeast of Baghdad, that left 52 people dead.

The PMOI charges that special Iraqi security forces that answer to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki were behind the slaughter. Iraqi authorities have blamed infighting within the PMOI for the deaths.




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