RESPONSE BY JUBILEE CAMPAIGN U.K TO THE HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPORT ON THE PEOPLE’S MOJAHEDIN OF IRAN
It was with surprise and disappointment that we recently learned of a critical report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI). The stories by supposed ‘former members’ of the PMOI interviewed by HRW contained nothing new and are highly likely to be fabrications.
It is part of the usual strategy of the Iranian government’s intelligence services to attempt to tarnish the image of its main opposition, the PMOI, by spreading such disinformation and unsubstantiated allegations against that organisation.
It is likely that the Iranian regime is especially keen at the present time to try and discredit the PMOI as extensive efforts are being made by Iranian communities around the world to have the unjust terror tag removed from their resistance movement.
It is very disturbing that Human Rights Watch has provided a platform for such unsubstantiated allegations against the PMOI to be spread. Thorough corroboration of the allegations should have been sought before they were published and HRW should have given the accused organisation an opportunity to respond to the very serious allegations made against it, before publishing such claims.
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".
But how can one ascertain the credibility or otherwise of an individual based on a telephone call, especially when they are alleging severe mistreatment? 1t 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. HRW ought also to have conducted on-site research at PMOI bases in Iraq but this was not done.
The HRW report solely relies on oral claims with no hard evidence by people claiming to be former members of the Mojahedin. Under these circumstances we urge HRW to withdraw its report on the PMOI. Rather than focusing on unsubstantiated allegations against the PMOl, we hope that HRW will concentrate its efforts on exposing the real human rights abuses by the mullahs in Tehran.
Jubilee Campagin U.K