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Journalists denied entry to Camp Ashraf after Iraqi army attack

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders condemns the news blackout imposed by the Iraqi authorities on events at Camp Ashraf, a camp in northern Iraq that houses 3,500 Iranian exiles. An attack by the Iraqi army on 8 April 2011 reportedly resulted in the deaths of around 30 residents and many wounded.

"This news blackout is unacceptable," Reporters Without Borders said. "The security forces are denying journalists access to the camp to hide abuses committed against civilians. Anyone trying to take photographs of the clashes is being attacked in a systematic and targeted fashion."

According to several news organizations, the camp is surrounded by armoured vehicles and army trucks. Journalists have been forced to remain at the camp gates. No media personnel have been allowed inside.

Located 60 km west of the Iranian border and 120 km north of Baghdad, Camp Ashraf was set up in the 1980s to house members of the People's Mujahideen, a militant Iranian movement opposed to Iran's Islamic regime. US forces began disarming them after the 2003 invasion. Since then the camp's residents have been protected under the Geneva Conventions. After overseeing the camp for six years, the US military handed over control to the Iraqi authorities in January 2009.

The Iraqi authorities have banned journalists from entering the camp since July 2009, following clashes between Iraqi security forces and the camp's residents. The residents accuse the Iraqi authorities of trying to please the Iranian government while the Iraqis blame the violence on the Mujahideen.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
What other IFEX members are saying
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  • Journalists banned from entering camp

    RSF has condemned a decision by Iraqi authorities to ban journalists from entering a camp housing an exiled Iranian opposition group.



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