Friday, June 18, 2021
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HRW should accept the mistake that it has made and withdraw this dire report

ImageStatement by Mr David Amess, MP
The PMOI whose members and sympathisers have been the primary victims of the Iranian regime’s barbarity over the past quarter of a century, and who have sacrificed everything to struggle for the liberation of their people, are not in the business of mistreating their members, sympathisers or anyone else for that matter.
It was with immense surprise that I recently learned of a dire report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI). The fabricated stories of ‘former members’ of the PMOI interviewed by HRW contained nothing new and are stories that have been told by the same individuals for many years to whomever will listen.

Image These individuals work with the Iranian government’s intelligence services and are simply part of the Iranian regime’s long running and well-financed campaign to tarnish the image of its main opposition, the PMOI. However, this issue raises a legitimate and pertinent question. If, as is the case, the stories of these same individuals have been repeated before on many occasions over recent years, and therefore there is nothing new in what they have told HRW, what was the purpose behind the report and its publication at such a time? Clues as to the answer to this question may be found in paragraph 2 on page 3 of the report, in which reference is made to extensive efforts by Iranian communities around the world to have the unjust terror tag removed from their resistance movement.

What is also shocking is the readiness of a human rights organisation such as Human Rights Watch to discredit itself by repeating, as fact, the fabricated stories of individuals who have been proven to be working with the Iranian government’s intelligence services. This is especially so, when they sought no corroboration of the information published, and worst still, did not even give the accused organisation an opportunity to respond to the very serious allegations made against it, before such allegations were published.

To call the report an outcome of an investigation is disingenuous. One only needs to consider the methodology used. The report states that twelve ‘former members’ of the PMOI living in Europe were interviewed ‘by telephone’ and that their accounts of mistreatment were ‘credible’. How can one ascertain the credibility or otherwise of an individual based on a telephone call, especially when they are alleging severe maltreatment? It is standard practice to conduct face to face interviews with victims of torture, because often the torment they have suffered is shown through their expressions as much as their words. At the same time, notes can be made of any scars and marks left on their body as a result of the torture they have suffered and/or medical evidence can be obtained from them.

In the circumstances, I call upon HRW to accept the mistake that it has made and withdraw this dire report. I am afraid that by the publication of this report, HRW has not won itself any favours from the long suffering people of Iran or those around the world that care about the fait of the Iranian people. If HRW are genuinely concerned about any allegations of mistreatment by the PMOI in Iraq, they should make the effort to travel to Iraq and properly investigate such allegations. Open invitations have been provided by the PMOI to all human rights organisations for many years and yet these invitations have been ignored. The reason for this is clear. The PMOI whose members and sympathisers have been the primary victims of the Iranian regime’s barbarity over the past quarter of a century, and who have sacrificed everything to struggle for the liberation of their people, are not in the business of mistreating their members, sympathisers or anyone else for that matter. HRW would be better placed concentrating its efforts on exposing real human rights abuses by the mullahs in Tehran, rather than fictitious claims of human rights abuses made against the PMOI by those working with the Iranian government’s intelligence services.