European lawmakers and jurists called on French authorities to drop charges against officials of the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran and put an end to what they described as harassment of opponents of Iran’s clerical regime in France.
The call came from hundreds of parliamentary, legal and political figures who attended a seminar in Paris on Tuesday entitled, "Two years after June 17, 2003, Justice for the National Council of Resistance of Iran".
Speaker after speaker condemned the massive crackdown by French police on the NCRI in June 2003 and noted that two years of intensive investigations had not substantiated a single charge against the NCRI.
On June 17, 2003, some 1,300 French anti-terrorism police raided the offices of the NCRI and the homes of Iranian opposition activists and French authorities claimed that the group was planning a series of terrorist attacks in Europe. An extensive search of NCRI offices revealed no evidence to substantiate any of the allegations. French judges, in an unprecedented move, released all the 165 Iranian dissidents within days, but 17 NCRI officials were placed under investigation.
NCRI foreign affairs chief Mohammad Mohaddessin told the seminar that his group had documented evidence over the past two years which showed that the French security service, DST, had acted at the behest of Iranian leaders in conducting the raid.
Prominent French lawyer Henri Leclerc; the Rt. Hon. Lord Slynn of Hadley, a former British Law Lord and European Court of Justice judge; Prof. Jean-Yves de Cara, president of the International Law Institute in Paris; Lord Russell-Johnston, former Chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; Jean-Pierre Michel, French Senator; prominent French lawyer William Bourdon,; Christophe Pettiti, lawyer and secretary general of the Human Rights Institute of European Lawyers; Professor Bernard Bouloc, professor at Sorbonne University; Mario Stasi, lawyer and former head of Paris Bar Association; Sid Ahmed Ghozali, former Algerian Prime Minister; Andrew MacKinlay, British parliamentarian and member of the House of Commons’ Foreign Relations Committee; Dr. Rudi Vis, British parliamentarian; and a representative of the Human Rights League in France, were among the speakers.
NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi told the seminar via a video link that no evidence had been found to support allegations of money-laundering against the Iranian opposition. Rajavi said certain French agencies were deliberately propping up false charges to justify the June 2003 raids on Iranian refugees.
Several members of the European Parliament also addressed the conference via a live satellite link from Strasbourg. Alejo Vidal Quadras, Spanish Euro-MP and First vice-President of the European Parliament; Paulo Casaca, Portuguese Euro-MP and head of the European Parliamentary delegation to NATO; Struan Stevenson, British Euro-MP; Helmut Markov, head of Germany’s PDS group at the European Parliament; and Astrid Lulling, senior Euro-MP from Luxemburg, addressed the conference from the European Parliament, saying that the terrorism allegations against the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI) were baseless and urging French officials to discontinue undue pressure on the Mojahedin and the Iranian Resistance.
The PMOI is a member organisation of the National Council of Resistance of Iran and was listed as a terrorist organisation by the European Union in mid-2002, in what the European Union’s then-Spanish leadership called “a goodwill gesture to Tehran”.