WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hundreds of families of the residents of Camp Ashraf, Iraq, will be joining thousands of Iranian-Americans from 40 states across America for a rally and march outside the State Department, scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m., according to Human Rights and Democracy International.
Several Members of Congress and former senior U.S. Government officials will be addressing the rally, which will be followed by a march from 23rd Street to Virginia Avenue, and back to the State Department.
The participants will be calling on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to de-list the MeK and ensure the protection of Camp Ashraf residents.
Camp Ashraf is home to 3,400 members of the principal Iranian opposition movement, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK), and has come under attacks after the U.S. handed over its protection to the government of Nouri al-Maliki.
Acting at the behest of the regime in Tehran, Maliki has imposed a siege around Ashraf and twice ordered his military forces to launch deadly attacks on the unarmed residents, including 1,000 women, in July 2009 and April 2011. Foreign Relations Committee Chair Senator John Kerry described the attack as a "massacre."
The unwarranted terrorist designation of the MeK by the State Department has been used by the Iraqi government and the regime in Tehran as a pretext to persecute and murder MeK members and affiliates. In December 2010 and January 2011, several MeK activists were hanged in Iran on the charge of visiting their children in Camp Ashraf and/or participating in the summer 2009 uprising in Iran.
In April and June, Maliki denied a European Parliament delegation and a bi-partisan Congressional delegation, led by the House Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee Chair Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and the ranking member Russ Carnahan (D-MO) access to Ashraf, invoking the designation of the MEK by the State Department.
The House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation and Trade Ranking Member Brad Sherman (D-CA) said on April 14, "In private discussions, the Iraqi ambassador's office has said the blood is not on the hands of the Iraqi government but is at least partially on the hands of the State Department because the MeK is listed as a terrorist group and accordingly, Iraq doesn't feel that it has to respect the human rights of those in the camp."
SOURCE Human Rights and Democracy International