Pritchard criticises FCO over Iraq

29 November 2013

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THE Government has failed to put enough pressure on the Iraqi Prime Minister to answer the charge that Iraqi military forces are responsible for the deaths of 52 people at Camp Ashraf in September, the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard has said this week.

In a letter sent to the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, on Monday, the Bishop, writing on behalf of a "considerable number of bishops", expresses "deep concern" about the response to the massacre (News, 13 September) and disappearance of seven former residents of the camp (News, 11 October).

"The UK Government shares responsibility under the Geneva Convention for ensuring that Iranian dissidents are properly protected," he writes.

The official Foreign and Commonwealth Office line it cannot be confirmed that it was Iraqi forces that carried out the attack and abductions, and that it is leaders in Camp Liberty who are preventing access to proper outside help, does not bear scrutiny.

Nor can it be denied that it is Iran that is calling many of the shots, and that there must be a real fear that the seven detainees will be transferred to Iran and there tortured and killed." 

Last week, Bishop Pritchard (above) visited hunger strikers outside the US Embassy, who were "weak but resilient". Each had a story to tell of people killed in Iran or trapped in Camp Liberty.

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