The political: How did the MEK end up in Albania, and what difference might the change in US president make to the MEK’s future – will the MEK’s role in cyber misinformation be curtailed, will the Iranian diaspora be enabled to flourish without MEK suppression. How should Albania treat the MEK now that relations with the US will change, and what approach has the European Union taken in the past few years in dealing with the MEK’s unwanted behaviour.
The MEK’s presence in Albania: How Albanians discovered that hosting the MEK has resulted in the toxification of their country’s government, media, judiciary and security services. Panellists question the MEK’s impunity – from building an extra-territorial, extra-judicial enclave in which its enslaved members are disappeared, to how senior MEK members enjoy access to the institutes of state that Albanians are denied in their own country. At the same time, ordinary members are denied basic human rights and are effectively stateless.
In conclusion: With Trump gone it may now be possible to find workable solutions to the issues raised in this debate. The horrible situation of individual MEK members can be effectively resolved by providing them real choice about their futures. A cost effective and straightforward plan would be to issue visas to their families and allow them to visit their loved ones in the camp. Once reconnected to this network of support, members can choose whether to remain with the MEK or live freely with their loving families for the remainder of their lives.
PART ONE – POLITICAL CONTEXT
In this section, experts talk about the effect of the Trump administration on the fortunes of the MEK in America, Albania and Europe.
Mr Massoud Khodabandeh, Middle East Strategy Consultants, former MEK member, UK
Mr Sina Toossi, Senior Research Analyst at the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Washington
Dr Olsi Yazeji, Albanian-Canadian Historian, media presenter, Albania
Mr Reza Jebelli Sadeghi, former MEK official in the USA, now working in the EU Parliament, Brussels
PART TWO – MEK IN ALBANIA AND HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
This section focuses on MEK activities and behaviour since arriving in Albania and local reactions. Panellists drill down into the behaviour of the MEK in relation to Albanian civic life and the lives of the membership.
Mr Gjergji Thanasi, award winning investigative journalist, Albania
Ms Migena Bala, lawyer from Tirana, Albania
Mr Hassan Heyrani, businessman in Tirana, former MEK member representing the ex-members in Albania from Tirana
Mr Edward Termado, Armenian-Iranian former POW (Iran-Iraq war) and former MEK member, Germany
Ms Anne Singleton, Open Minds – Cults and Deradicalization expert, UK