Iranian dissidents wounded in last week's in clashes with Iraqi soldiers have been forcibly removed from their hospital beds and returned to their camp, two hospital workers said Wednesday.
At least 17 patients, some of whom were described by a doctor as in critical condition at Baqouba public hospital, were taken back to Camp Ashraf in Iraq's eastern Diyala province late Tuesday by security forces.
The camp residents are Iranian exiles from the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran seeking the overthrow the clerical leaders in Iran. Tehran considers them a terrorist group, and their decades-old camp in Iraq has been an irritant between the Shiite-led governments of Iraq and Iran, who are trying to strengthen ties.
Government forces stormed the camp early Friday killing at least 12 people, according to Baqouba hospital officials, although Ashraf residents said as many as 34 died.
There was no way to verify the number because Iraqi forces have refused to let journalists inside the camp.
Three women were among the patients, many of whom were bandaged, according to the doctor and an ambulance driver who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Ashraf resident Shahriar Kia said the camp is unable to provide the medical care the patients need and called the move a plot by the Iraqi government to let them die.
Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Iraqi government has given the Ashraf residents until the end of the year to leave the country.
Seven other wounded residents are being treated by the U.S. military, said Kia, who urged American forces to help more of the patients.
The U.S. military has offered medical aid to the Ashraf residents but is refusing to discuss any details or confirm how many bodies might still be inside the camp.