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France Drops Terror Charges Against Iran Opposition Group

Iranian dissidents wave their national flag and various Islamic flags during a demonstration, July 10, 2008, in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, to have the People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran removed from the EU terror list

France on Thursday dropped terrorism-related charges against 24 members of the Iranian opposition group known as the People's Mujahadeen.

The charges had alleged that the group embezzled charity money to fund terrorist activities.

Among those arrested in a 2003 sweep of the Mujahadeen's headquarters in Paris was the group's leader, Maryam Rajavi.

French prosecutors said nine members of the group are still under investigation on suspicion of financial wrongdoing.

The United States in 1997 listed the People's Mujahadeen of Iran as a terrorist organization. The European Union removed the organization from its terrorist list two years ago.

Roughly 3,500 members of the opposition group also lived in Iraq, in a large exile community north of Baghdad known as Camp Ashraf.

The exiles contend they have been brutally mistreated by Iraq's government since the draw-down of U.S. forces.

The United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay has called for an independent inquiry into reports that at least 34 people were killed and other injured when Iraqi troops raided the camp on April 8.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.