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Iran-Iraq: Iraqi jurists condemn abduction of PMOI members, call for government action

Iraqi jurists support PMOINCRI, August 30 – More than a thousand Iraqi lawyers and jurists issued a statement condemning the abduction of two PMOI (People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran) members and holding the Iraqi government accountable for their safety.

At a press conference on Saturday in Baghdad’s Qasr al-Arab hotel, the National Association in Defense of Human Rights in Iraq released the declaration of more than 1,000 Iraqi lawyers and jurists from throughout Iraq in condemnation of the abduction of two PMOI members.

The declaration, which addressed Iraqi Prime Minister Ebrahim Jaafari, was read out by Morteza Saadi, a prominent jurist and member of the Association.

It said according to international law, the Iraqi government is responsible for the safety and well-being of the two abducted individuals.

A number of Iraqi political, social and cultural personalities as well as dozens of reporters and correspondents of international press attended the conference, entitled "Human Rights in Iraq’s Constitution".

The text of the declaration and signatures of more than 1,000 Iraqi lawyers and jurists was handed out to the news media.

The declaration addressed to Dr. Ibrahim Jaafari, read as follows:

As Your Excellency is aware, two members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, Hossein Pouyan and Mohammad Ali Zahedi, were kidnapped by eight armed elements affiliated with the 9th Badr at noon on Thursday, August 4, 2005, on Baghdad’s Karrada Kharej Avenue before the eyes of the public. Eyewitnesses say the kidnappers used the vehicles of the Iraqi Police’s Special Forces. At the same time, eyewitnesses testified that the abducted individuals were taken to one of the stories of the Interior Ministry building and from there were transfered to an unknown location.

It should be noted that Mr. Hossein Pouyan, is a political refugee in Italy, and both abducted persons are under the legal protection of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

According to our information, the PMOI has followed up on this issue very extensively. Unfortunately, however, government officials have not given them any answer on the fate of the abducted persons. The Iraqi government has neither published any report so far.

Based on our legal and humanitarian duty, we, Iraqi jurists and lawyers signing the present letter, would like to point out the following to you as the qualified authority who has the relevant legal powers.

1. In light of the experiences of recent years and our practical knowledge of the trend of events in our country, this shocking crime is undoubtedly committed by the Iranian Intelligence and its agents in Iraq, because they are their only party that benefits from such a crime. Also according to the information we have received, the abducted persons are reportedly going to be handed over to the government of Iran via the southern Iraqi borders and specifically through Al-Amara region.
In light of the fact that this crime has taken place on the Iraqi soil, based on the principle of the territorial nature of crimes which is an undeniable principle of law, your government will be asked about this crime and will be held accountable, particularly that the said persons had legal presence in Iraq and were formally covered by the Fourth Geneva Convention. Based on International Law, Iraq is responsible for their safety and security.

2. All the laws, conventions, international law, recognized principles of human rights, moral and Islamic principles condemn this ugly and shameful act. Legally, kidnapping is among the harshest crimes that could take place against persons and public security. For this reason, in all penal codes, kidnapping is punishable with the harshest punishments.
3. A large number of prominent jurists, lawyers, political and human rights personalities, international parliamentarians from Europe and the United States have strongly condemned this horrifying crime and urged your government to take immediate measures to save the lives of these hostages.

4. Naturally, your government is also under pressure and blackmail because of these terrorist and inhuman actions. This is while the platform of your government is topped by war on terror and insecurity. Internationally, too, the UN Security Council has issued a resolution against terrorism in Iraq and has unanimously condemned and adopted it in the strongest terms.

1,000 Iraqi lawyers said: Based on the above, we urge you to fulfill the following as soon as possible:

– We call on your government to act upon its responsibility and officially condemn this criminal kidnapping and proclaim who has committed this crime.

– In light of the fact that the crime took place in Iraq, according to domestic and international law, your government is responsible for the necessary judicial investigations by the relevant agencies to pursue, arrest and try the perpetrators so they would be severely punished. In this way, you would be able to counter this phenomenon and prevent its recurrence in the future.

– We urgently call on Your Excellency to issue the appropriate orders to the Ministry of Interior and relevant security agencies to save the lives of Messrs. Pouyan and Zahedi in line with the war on terrorism and blackmail.