To the Honorable Ombudsman Madame Erinda Ballanca
I am Gjergji Thanasi, an Albanian journalist working predominantly free lance and specialized in investigative journalism. I am addressing my concern to you regarding the ex terrorist Organization MEK (The Mujahedin of the Iranian People), now residing in the Administrative Unit of Manez (Durres Municipality), in a gated and fenced camp called “Ashraf 3”.
The members of this organization beginning from 2013 (over 200 persons), and especially in 2016 (several thousand persons) were transferred from Iraq to Albania, as per an undisclosed agreement between the Edi Rama Government and UNHCR.
My concern regarding that camp of such ex terrorists (State Department delisted MEK as a terrorist organization only in 2012) covers not only potential risks to Albania and Albanians, but also the plight of the Iranian members of the said organization, the inmates of “Ashraf 3” Camp at Manez.
Based on my ground investigation I can inform you that this organization labels any member as a mercenary of Mullahs’ regime (the actual Iranian government), as an Iranian spy or even a terrorist, immediately after such a member leaves the organization, gives up his Jihad ( holy war) against Tehran, thus trying to live a normal and quiet life in Tirana. Even veteran members (30 to 40 years) of the organization do not escape continues labeling on different media controlled by the organization as Iranian spies and terrorists immediately after they abandon the ranks of the organization. Such a reaction makes me believe that there are people among the inmates of the “Ashraf 3” Camp who remain in the camp not on their free will.
Based on my investigation I inform you that there is a considerable number of inmates of that camp who want to leave this organization, MEK ( The Mujahedin of the Iranian People). They want to de radicalize themselves and they want to spend the remaining years of their lives living normal lives in Tirana far away from the pathetic decade long attempts to commit Jihad against the Regime of Tehran. If my investigation proves to be true, then we can safely assume that the leadership, the commanders of MEK have deprived unlawfully such inmates and such comrades in arms of their personal liberty by forcefully preventing them from leaving the camp for Tirana in order to live a peaceful and civilian life there instead of a paramilitary life in the camp.
I pray to God that my investigation is wrong i.e. there are no modern slaves or serfs in that camp at Manez (Albania). Yet I implore you and your staff to investigate the possibility of the existence of the crime of unlawfully depriving dozens of persons of their personal liberty while living in that camp. I stress the fact that the inmates of “Asraf 3” Camp are not Albanians as they are ethnic Iranians, yet even these Iranians are human beings and as such they should enjoy the universal human rights while living in Albania, a NATO member country and a country candidate member to European Union.
I am using this letter to you Madame Ombudsman to draw your attention to the fact that Premier Rama declared that these Iranians were sheltered in Albania in order to protect their human rights, beginning with the life right and onwards. Precisely in order to protect their presumed violated human rights I addressed my concern to you.