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An Urgent Appeal to free Iranian dissident taken hostage in Iraq


US urged to take action to release hostage Iranian dissident in Iraq
US urged to take action to release hostage Iranian dissident in Iraq
Washington Times has published an urgent appeal in its Thursday issue calling on the U.S. Government to take immediate action to secure the release of a Camp Liberty resident who the U.S. had committed to protect but now has been held hostage in Iraq by being illegally detained for the past four weeks.
Mr. Safar Zakery, 60, an Iranian refugee living in Camp Liberty under UN supervision has been recognized as a person of concern protected under international law.
The full-page ad published by the US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents said: “Since four weeks ago, the Iraqi government… has detained him and refuses to recognize his legal status to return to Camp Liberty.”
“He suffers from kidney stones, gallstones, and severe Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BHP). Instead, Iraqi officials have inexplicably facilitated the involvement of the Iranian regime’s embassy in his case, to Iran, where he will face torture and execution.”
In 2004, the U.S. and Multinational-Force Iraq recognized Safar Zakery and members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) as ‘protected persons’ under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
In 2004, the U.S. Government signed an agreement with Safar Zakery, committing itself to protect him until his final disposition.
In 2011, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees recognized Safar Zakery as a refugee entitled to international protection.
The U.S. Government and the UN officially asked Mr. Zakery and other residents of Camp Ashraf to relocate to Camp Liberty. In return, the U.S. pledged to ensure the safety and the security of the residents.
The appeal published in the Washington Times calls on the U.S. Government to take urgent action to fulfill America’s commitment by securing Mr. Zakery’s freedom.
The US Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents called on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to order the immediate release of Mr. Zakery.