Iraqis call for MKO expulsion

People in Iraq's Diyala province organized a protest in front of Camp Ashraf were the Mujahidin Khalq terrorist organization or MKO members are residing.

People have been calling on Iraqi officials to expel the organization from their country, and described their presence in Iraq as a chronic disease.

Key individuals turned out for the protest including tribal leaders, clerics and local government officials.

Protesters have been shouting, "leave our country", and carried anti-MKO slogans to express their intolerance towards the presence of the organization that they say has caused so much pain in their lives.

The tribal leaders stated that they attended the protest to call on the government to respond to public demands to evacuate the camp from the country.

In response to the protest, the MKO members gathered behind the safety of barbwires, throwing insults to the protesters.

Local Iraqi officials say the MKO members who claim they are only guests in Iraq should start acting like guests, and stop showing disrespect to the citizens of this country.

For his part, Zia Karim, an Iraqi lawyer, said that "the leaders of the MKO at Camp Ashraf reject orders made by the Iraqi justice system for the exit of some members of the MKO from the camp at the request of their families."

Karim said that “the leaders of Camp Ashraf and in particular the head of the organisation is being asked to accept the just demands of the ones who want to leave the organisation and to allow them to leave the camp”. He stressed that, “we also demand the government of Iraq to take responsibility to implement the orders of Iraqi officials as well as the Judiciary system and uphold the rule of law in Iraq”.

The lawyer revealed, "I have more than 75 powers of attorney from the Iranian families to take their children out of Camp Ashraf, especially when the children are subjected to torture at the hands of the leaders of Camp Ashraf, because they want to get out of the camp."


He continued by saying, "I will raise a lawsuit against the leaders of Camp Ashraf, where they are accused of preventing some members of the organization from access to their legal rights and do not allow lawyers and non-governmental human rights commissions and neutral bodies to enter the camp and give those individuals the right to decide to stay or leave."

MKO has been in Iraq's Diyala province since the 1980s and was part of Saddam Hussein's war against Iran during that period.

The group is especially notorious in Iran for having sided with former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

Following the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, US troops disarmed the MKO members at Iraq's Camp Ashraf, where they were based, and surrounded it until Iraqi forces took over responsibility for the camp in 2009.