Loss of life due to Iraq’s medical blockade against Iranian opposition reaches 22

NCRI – With the passing away of another Iranian opposition official in Albania on Wednesday (November 5, 2014) the number of lives lost due to the medical blockade imposed on Ashraf and Liberty reaches twenty-two.

Ms. Farideh Vanaie, 51, who had been deprived of free access to medical service by Iraqi agents during years living in Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty passed away in a hospital in Tirana, Albania, after a major surgery.

Ms. Vanaie, a member of the National Council of Resistance (NCRI), was an official of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) who joined the organization 36 years ago in her struggle for freedom in Iran.

She was arrested twice between 1981 and 1986 and spent over four years in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison and Ghezel Hessar Prison in the city of Karaj under torture.

Her older sister and her brother-in-law were executed in 1981 in the Diezelabad Prison in the city of Kermanshah.

During the anti-human medical blockade imposed by Iraqi agents against Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty, she was suffering from cancer.

The Iraqi agents hampered and disrupted her medical treatment as much as they could and the repeated complaints to the United Nations and the U.S. officials got nowhere.

On October 27, 2013, in a letter to the UNAMI Human Rights Office, she wrote:

“I have cancer and have had two operations and six chemotherapy sessions for the last four months. During the last month my health has been badly deteriorated and I have been bleeding and suffering from severe pain. I must have another urgent operation and my present condition is unbearable. On Tuesday, October 23, at 7:00 am I went to Iraqi Clinic of the camp in order to go to Yarmuk Hospital and waited until 12:30 pm enquiring a lot on my delayed medical journey but didn’t manage to go to hospital from the Liberty Prison.

“While I am suffering from severe pain, now it is 10:30 am of Sunday, October 27, and I have been in front of the clinic since seven in the morning with no movement to go to Yarmuk Hospital again….

“We have been denied even from the insignificant system of medical treatment which was running until last month. Denial of medical treatment … means killing us under torture. Unfortunately the UNAMI monitoring teams are informed from the onset but they have done nothing except watching us dying.

“…. The monitoring team was well aware of what was going on last week and today when I was going to Yarmuk Hospital but they even didn’t bother to talk to patients including me….”

In a joint letter with three other patients dated January 18, 2014 to Mr. Gyorgy Busztin, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (DSRSG), she wrote:

“We are four patients living in Camp Liberty …suffering from chronic diseases. We are supposed to go to Baghdad tomorrow morning for treatment. We were informed through the Iraqi clinic in Camp Liberty tonight that the intelligence agents at Camp Liberty, omitted our interpreters and without any reason do not allow them to accompany us to the hospital tomorrow.

“For your information, two of us, meaning Khalil Pourshafai and Farideh Vanaee, are suffering from cancer who need to go to the hospital at specific periods to be treated by the specialist doctor….

Given that UNAMI is responsible for the safety of the residents, we ask you to intervene personally and stop this antihuman torture by the intelligence agents such as Major Ahmad against us, the patients at Camp Liberty. We want to go for our specialist appointment along with our nurses and interpreters. For the God’s sake, tell them to stop torturing us”.

The hampering led to the worsening of her disease which made it incurable. Through ceaseless endeavors by the PMOI and the representatives of residents of Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty, Farideh Vanaee was eventually transferred to Albania on 18 March 2014 to receive medical treatment and was swiftly hospitalized.

However, due to the delay in her treatment, consecutive operations proved unsuccessful and following her last surgery that lasted 7 hours she passed away due to a heart attack.

Underscoring the responsibility of the United Nations and the United States regarding the security and well-being of the residents and so as to avoid the repetition of these tragedies, the Iranian Resistance is calling for urgent and practical steps by the United Nations and the United States to end this inhuman medical siege and secure the residents’ free access to medical services.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
November 6, 2014