Iraq fails to expel Iran opposition members

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The Independent Online

A group of 36 Iranian opposition members were returned to an exile camp in northern Iraq yesterday after nearly three months in custody and despite efforts to expel them.

The men were returned to Camp Ashraf, where nearly 3,500 members of the People's Mujahedin of Iran have been confined since the invasion in 2003, while the Iraqi government tries to find a country other than Iran to take them. The opposition group said that the 36 were on a hunger strike and were in a weakened state when they arrived back at Camp Ashraf.

They were detained in July after a deadly clash with Iraqi security forces at the camp, an incident that caused an international outcry from human rights groups and raised questions about the Shia-dominated Iraqi government's ties to Iran. The Iraqi government has said it was trying to establish a police station at Camp Ashraf and blamed the violence on resistance by Iranian exiles.