Psychological Torture

Psychological Torture

In the wake of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and Iranians being allowed to visit sacred Shiite sanctities in Iraq, many families of Ashraf residents in Iran took advantage of the opportunity and began visiting Ashraf to see their loved ones after many years of separation. Under the excuse of visiting Shiite sanctities and tourist trips to Iraq, they visited Ashraf without knowledge of the Iranian regime and MOIS officials. Of course, some of these family members upon their return to Iran were arrested, tortured and even executed like Ali Saremi, Jaffar Kazemi, Mohammad-Ali Aghaii and others. Amnesty International and other international human rights organizations have reported some of these cases. 
Hundreds of family visits continued from 2003 to 2009 when Ashraf was under the control of US forces and the residents’ family members were able to stay as guests for as long as they wished in Ashraf’s “Hotel Iran”, built for this very purpose.
However, as soon as Camp Ashraf file was transferred from US forces to al-Maliki government in 2009 - at behest of the Iranian regime - all visitors including families were immediately banned and returned back. In early 2009, tens of Ashraf residents’ families were arrested in Tehran International Airport while intending to pay a visit to their relatives in Ashraf. The families did not dare to visit Ashraf from inside Iran because there was no doubt in their minds their names would be handed over to the Iranian regime immediately and they will face arrestment upon their return.
In the early 2010, the Iraqi Prime Minister Office in cooperation with the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad arranged the so-called “family visits” of some Iranian government-operated NGO to destabilize Ashraf. Number of MOIS agents assisted by the Iraqi army and under the guise of “family members”, set up camp at the main gate of Ashraf, fixing nine loudspeakers to the Gate’s metal frame to broadcast aggressive messages to the residents. Soon, it became obvious that those claimed to be families of Ashraf residents, were actually either PMOI defectors or agents, dispatched by MOIS. Only a small number of them had relatives in Ashraf who were used to cover up the regime’s plan.
Over a period of two years, the loudspeakers multiplied to reach 320 units at the four wings of the camp’s perimeter fence, blaring threats and insults day and night at the residents, to torture them and destroy any chance of rest. It is noteworthy that such method is used as yet inside the Iranian regime’s prisons in order to break down political prisoners.
Nevertheless, the psychological torture continued for 677 days until the MoU was signed and Ashraf residents were displaced in the early 2012.
The following are excerpts of some of the threats expressed by the so-called “family members”, who were really MOIS agents:

MOIS Agent Soraya Abdollahi:
I shall hang each and every one of you in front of Ashraf. We shall carry out a massacre in Ashraf and destroy it.
Beware; these actions by us will soon start in the form of an attack… We shall annihilate Ashraf… With our presence here, Ashraf has come to its demise… Death to you…
MOIS Agent Mostafa Mohammadi:
If I order them to attack at night; do you know that not one of you will stay alive? Don't get the word out that a number of mercenaries have come. We have come here with official papers. Our papers are with the leaders in Baghdad and the army in Baghdad. This yelling that I am doing will cost you greatly one day, the day that I tie the ropes around each of your necks and pull you up.
MOIS Agent Soraya Abdollahi:
Listen to this! This is the end of the road… I will be after you to the last second. I will follow you to the last second. ..I will, with my own hand, with my own fingers, I will put it in your mouth and pull out that dirty tongue of yours. I will be the one to hang you. I will put the rope around your neck myself.
MOIS Agent Soraya Abdollahi:
We shall turn Ashraf into rubble.
I tell to the army, navy and air force of Iraq that we are grateful. We understand this. Your hands are tied.
I shall hang each and every one of you in front of Ashraf. We shall carry out a massacre and destroy it

The photo above: Powerful loudspeakers on perimeters of Ashraf broadcasting deafening noise as part of psychological torture of the residents after US handed over of the camp to Iraqis

Legal opinion On the prevention of acts of torture against the residents of Ashraf Camp
The constant warnings about expulsion coupled with repeated threats of execution and incitement to murder and the serious restrictions placed on access to the most…
OMCT press release on psychological torture against Ashraf residents
PRESS RELEASE- Iraq: New violence in Camp Ashraf raises concerns for the safety of its residents Geneva, 11 April 2011. The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)…
PACE condemns use of loudspeakers for psychological torture
  Doc. 12510- 28 January 2011- Camp Ashraf- Written Declaration No 472: This written declaration commits only the members who have signed it On 7 January 2011, the assault…
Ad Melkert's response on psychological torture
Ad Melkert, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Iraq, responded to widespread concern among Euro MPs about Camp Ashraf. December 1, 2010In a…

External Links

Two Misguided Reports

    On 18 May 2005, the US based Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) issued a 28-page report (“the HRW Report”) concerning the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (“PMOI / MEK”).  Entitled ‘No Exit: Human Rights Abuses Inside the MKO Camps’, the HRW Report was essentially based on 12 hours of telephone interviews with 12…
  • Courting Disaster, A response to Rand report on People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran
    Courting Disaster, A response to Rand report on People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran
    The RAND National Defense Research Institute published in July 2009 the report The Mujahedin-e Khalq: A Policy Conundrum for the Multi-National Force-Iraq, Task Force 134 (Detainee Operations). The report focuses on the circumstances surrounding the detention of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK) at Camp Ashraf and “whether MeK members were taken into custody…