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PMOI on hunger strike

Aug. 25, 2009 at 5:05 PM   |   Comments

CAMP ASHRAF, Iraq, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Members of the People's Mujahedin of Iran entered their 12th day of a hunger strike marking the death of a dissident following a raid by Iraqi forces in July.

Iraqi forces stormed the Camp Ashraf enclave of the PMOI July 28 following the withdrawal of U.S. forces to their combat bases under the terms of a bilateral security pact with Baghdad.

At least 10 residents of the camp have died from wounds suffered during the military raid. Baghdad claims the latest victim, Shaban al-Suri, fell into a coma and later died en route to the hospital in nearby Balad.

PMOI members told the Iraqi analytical Web site Niqash that Suri was found covered in blood, noting U.S. forces had videotaped the Iraqi raid and stood by watching the violence.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh denied the claims made by PMOI members, saying the operation was a controlled measure meant to provide stability in the enclave.

PMOI officials told Niqash, however, the raid violated agreements made with the U.S. military. The PMOI surrendered its weapons to U.S. forces following the 2003 invasion in exchange for pledges of security.

Baghdad claims that agreement is void under the terms of the bilateral security arrangement with Washington.

"The government is not obliged to implement any agreement reached between U.S. troops and the opposition PMOI," said Adnan al-Asadi, secretary general of the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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