THE last time Shahabeh Barouti spoke to her mother, she was
told: "Don't worry: we'll see each other soon." That was last
August, a few days before her mother's disappearance on 1
September. On Sunday, she spoke of the "pain and anguish" of the
Her mother, Mahnaz Azizi, is a member of the People's Mojahedeen
Organisation of Iran (PMOI), an outlawed Iranian opposition group
whose members have sought asylum in Iraq, at Camp Ashraf. Earlier
last year, 3200 Iranian exiles were transferred to Camp Hurriya. Ms
Barouti was one of those moved; her mother stayed at Camp
On 1 September, the camp was attacked, and 52 residents were
killed (News, 13 September). Ms Azizi was one of seven people who
disappeared. A Spanish court announced last month that it would
investigate Faleh al-Fayad, the security adviser to the Iraqi Prime
Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, for "alleged involvement" in the
massacre and abductions.
"It is clear to everyone that the seven hostages are in the
hands of Maliki's government, incarcerated in his prisons," Miss
Barouti said. "There's no doubt that they are in Iraq, and are
facing the threat of being extradited to Iran."
The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances
reported that "Iraqi forces allegedly admitted having these
individuals in custody." The Iraqi authorities, however, have
re-peatedly denied involvement in the attack.
"I feel outrage and disappointment at the silence and inaction
of the international community, namely President Obama and the UN,
who had given explicit and solemn pledges for the safety and
security of the residents of Ashraf and [Hurriya]," Ms Barouti said
on Sunday. "My mother is paying the price of their failure . . .
possibly with her life." The "idleness of the US and UN" was
"paving the way for more attacks against us", she said.
Now aged 29, Miss Barouti was sent from Iraq to the UK after the
Gulf War broke out in 1990, before being reunited with her mother
at Camp Ashraf. She has lived at Camp Hurriya for a year.