From Terror to Freedom
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To understand the MEK, Al Bawaba spoke with Massoud Khodabandeh, who was one of the groups most senior leaders for decades, before he escaped and renounced what it had become. Formed in by a group of students from Tehran University, the MEK was organized against the rule of the Shah, whose government was installed by the U. Many of its members were jailed and executed, and the group underwent a series of internal rifts. The bombing also reportedly injured Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is now the current ruler of Iran, permanently affecting his right arm.
Then two months later, they bombed the offices of Mohammad-Javad Bahonar, who was Prime Minister, and Mohammad-Ali Rajai, who was the president at the time, killing both. Khomeini then set his sights on expelling the MEK from Iran; most of the members fled to Iraq while its leadership went to Paris.
He allowed them to build a new base for themselves called Camp Ashraf just north of Baghdad in , and began funding the group. Under the command of Saddam and Massoud Rajavi, the MEK killed thousands of Iranians and then was used to violently suppress Iraqi Kurds, something Khodabandeh thought utterly contrary to the original ideals of the group, which he thought to be emancipatory. As one of its senior members who helped create international branches in Europe and lead its security, Khodabandeh thought he could convince the rest of the leadership to stick to its founding principles.
Its goal of revolution in Tehran seemed distant and abstract compared to the funds and arms it was getting for killing Iranians and Kurds. Because of its loyalty to Saddam, and its assassination of six American citizens, including three members of the military, the U. For most organizations, to be deemed a terrorist group spells doom for its ability to network and function internationally. They are either treated as pariahs, or actively targeted by states to be eliminated. The MEK stands as one of only groups who successfully lobbied itself off the list, paying out millions of dollars in a tri-pronged campaign that included donating to influential U.
Its removal from the terror list began in , when the U. The MEK was perceived as just another pro-Saddam militant organization, and were targeted as such by the U. After a brief period of conflict, the MEK called for a ceasefire and began discussions with U.
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Both were false. They also told the U.
With limited knowledge of the group, the U. The MEK then quickly built trust with the U. The U. Once free from prison, no programs or policies govern them. Britain has limited counseling and monitoring, and offers a voluntary re-integration program. Before adopting any new counter-terrorism measures, member states should pay attention to existing human rights standards and notably ensure that these measures are compatible with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantee the right to freedom of expression.
In its General Comment No. Excessive restrictions on access to information must also be avoided.
“From Terror to Freedom” chronicles earliest settlers
The media plays a crucial role in informing the public about acts of terrorism and its capacity to operate should not be unduly restricted. In this regard, journalists should not be penalized for carrying out their legitimate activities. While taking into account the particular problems linked to the prevention of terrorism, the European Court of Human Rights has clearly stressed in its case-law, including in the cases of Association Ekin v.
Turkey , that views expressed which cannot be read as an incitement to violence or be construed as liable to incite to violence should be covered by freedom of expression. States have therefore a duty to protect society against terrorists and to take measures to prevent and punish terrorist activities effectively.
However, this duty is counterbalanced by the obligation to uphold human rights in the fight against terrorism. A number of steps are needed to achieve that difficult balance:. The relevant national law must be formulated with sufficient precision to enable media actors and others to foresee, to a degree that is reasonable in the circumstances, the consequences which a given action may entail. Existing legislation must thus be reviewed and the notions used should be clearly defined. Any restriction on freedom of expression must be strictly necessary to protect national security and proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued.
Anti-terror legislation should only apply to content or activities which necessarily and directly imply the use or threat of violence with the intention to spread fear and provoke terror.
Freedom from Terror | Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist
Any other type of content or activities should be addressed in the context of the duties and responsibilities that the exercise of freedom of expression carries with it, as defined by Article 10 paragraph 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Anti-terror and security laws should not unduly interfere with the right of the media to impart information of public interest and the right of people to receive it.
All persons imprisoned because of the legitimate criticism they have expressed should be freed and the criminal records of those who have been convicted for such reports should be cleared. The idea according to which restrictions to freedom of expression may be an efficient tool to combat terrorism results in an overly wide application of concepts such as terrorist propaganda, glorification or apology of terrorism, including to contents that clearly do not incite to violence.
This misconception should be eliminated as undermining human rights is precisely one of the aims pursued by terrorism, which can in no way be eradicated by sacrificing the very principles and values of our democratic societies. On the contrary, pluralistic and democratic debates are of utmost importance, as a free society can thrive only through free expression and the exchange of ideas.
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Lib Dems. Whether or not this turns out to be so depends on a number of factors, among them how many people are willing to act as Lahouaiej-Bouhlel acted, and with what intelligence and determination the state and the population opposes them.
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The 84 dead might be said to be the victims of political correctness and the ever-expanding doctrine of human rights. Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was born and raised in Tunisia and, a totally unskilled man, was given leave to enter and stay in France only because he had married a French citizen of Tunisian origin in Tunisia. As it turned out, the marriage was not a happy one, though it produced three children.
Though the perpetrator of the Nice outrage managed to obtain a job as a deliveryman, he was not in other respects a model citizen. In January, he hit a man with a baseball bat which, of course, he just happened to have with him, though baseball is not played in France , because the man asked him to move his van, which was blocking traffic. He was sentenced to six months in prison, though the sentence was suspended. Where is justice?
The world is small therefore stop letting them walk about free. So far, no connection to Islamism has been found.