NewsSpecial WireEuropean Parliament caucus calls on Human Rights Watch to...

European Parliament caucus calls on Human Rights Watch to retract “distorted” report

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Iran Focus: Brussels, May 19 – A parliamentary caucus in the European Parliament rejected today a report by the New York-based Human Rights Watch on alleged human rights abuses in an Iranian opposition camp in Iraq and called on the organization to retract the controversial report. Iran Focus

Brussels, May 19 – A parliamentary caucus in the European Parliament rejected today a report by the New York-based Human Rights Watch on alleged human rights abuses in an Iranian opposition camp in Iraq and called on the organization to retract the controversial report.

“We were shocked to find out that Human Rights Watch had not informed the [People’s Mujahedeen”> regarding any of these allegations prior to publishing its report,” the caucus, Friends of a Free Iran, said in a statement released in Brussels today.

Earlier today, Human Rights Watch accused the opposition People’s Mujahedeen of Iran of torturing dissident members who criticized or sought to leave the organization.

“This conduct of Human Rights Watch is in clear violation of all well-established international standards and the basic right of defence,” the Euro-MPs’ statement said. “While very serious allegations have been raised on the PMOI, no attempt was made to seek the PMOI’s reply to theses allegations.”

The signatories include some of the star politicians in the European Parliament. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, the Parliament’s First Vice-President from the center-right People’s Party in Spain, Scottish Conservative Struan Stevenson, vice-president of the powerful Christian Democrat-Conservatives Group and Leader of European Democrats in the Parliament, and veteran Portugese Socialist Paulo Casaca, who heads the European Parliament’s delegation to NATO, were among the Euro-MPs who expressed profound dismay at the report.

“The report even does not make reference to written replies of the PMOI on these sorts of allegations that could be found on the website of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and a number of other internet sites,” the caucus said.

The Euro-MPs called the report “distorted and devoid of any legitimacy”. It criticized the human rights group for its untenable methodology, particularly the fact that all the interviews with the “witnesses” had been conducted over the telephone.

“The most basic impartiality has not been observed in preparation of this report, which reveals vividly its political nature,” the Euro-MPs charged. “These indications severely undermine the conduct of Human Rights Watch as an independent human rights organization”.

The Euro-MPs noted that all the members of their intergroup have found themselves constant targets of allegations against of the PMOI. “Some of these allegations were distributed among the members of the European Parliament by the Iranian embassy. The members of the intergroup have sought and received explanations on the allegations on the PMOI, a member of the NCRI coalition, from the NCRI representatives on a number of occasions,” the said.

The statement by Friends of a Free Iran in the European Parliament underlined the fact that two members of the intergroup visited Camp Ashraf in Iraq and had the opportunity to meet and talk in person with a large number of PMOI members there. The Euro-MPs also cited the conclusions of a 16-month investigation by several agencies of the U.S. government into a range of allegations against the PMOI in Iraq. The U.S. investigators concluded that there were no grounds to prosecute any PMOI member.

The Friends of a Free Iran in the European Parliament urged Human Rights Watch not to allow its report “be used as a ploy in the hands of Iranian regime to further suppress and the Iranian people and violate their rights”.

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