Iran General NewsUN, Red Cross translator disavows HRW report on Iran...

UN, Red Cross translator disavows HRW report on Iran opposition

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Iran Focus: Ottawa, May 28 – A former translator for the Red Cross (ICRC) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Iraq, in a letter addressed to U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, accused the rights group of released flawed torture allegations against Iran’s main opposition group. Iran Focus

Ottawa, May 28 – A former translator for the Red Cross (ICRC) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Iraq, in a letter addressed to U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, accused the rights group of released flawed torture allegations against Iran’s main opposition group.

Hamid Riahi said that during the two-year period in 1997-1998, when he was an official translator for the ICRC and the UNHCR, he took part in at least 300 cases during interviews of Iranians in Iraq who were requesting to be given refugee status.

In a 28-page paper Human Rights Watch accused the People’s Mojahedin (PMOI) of torturing its “dissident members” who criticised or sought to leave the organisation, but Riahi who took part in privately held interviews between ex-PMOI members and the ICRC and UNHCR in Shomeli Refugee Camp in Iraq gave a different account.

“I had not heard even from one person that he or she had been imprisoned or tortured by [the PMOI”>. Most of these refugees came out by their choice and when they came out of the umbrella of these groups, they must obey the Iraq’s laws. Of course if the person did anything against Iraqi authorities, would be arrested and in some cases go to Iraqi’s jail”, Riahi said.

Riahi, who presently resides in Canada, said that he was “appalled” that Human Right Watch had not contacted the Red Cross, the UNHCR, their translators, and many other sources to verify the claims made against opposition movement, adding “How can someone claim to be independent but to prepare a report in this manner”.

Riahi said that he was certain that there was a connection between the report, which he termed as “biased”, and the Iranian regime.

He concluded in his letter by stating that the right group’s report was likely to affect the state of political prisoners in Iran, adding that the Tehran regime would have an open hand to torture its opponents.

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