Since the relocation of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (the MKO/ MEK/ PMOI/ Cult of Rajavi) in Albania, demands for leaving the group have been increasingly on the rise. Although the leaders of the group have always been faced with such a problem, with the more open space in Europe that restricted the mind control system of the MEK in Albania, a large number of members of the group have managed to leave the group. However, many of them refrain from publicly expressing their desire to leave the group because of their fear of the consequences— severe punishments by the group commanders.
The MEK leaders also have techniques to dissuade the forces who want to leave. One of the commonly used methods that is now being run in Camp Ashraf 3 is the quarantine. Quarantine is actually for people who have been openly asking for defection, and after hours and days of interrogations and peer pressure have insisted on their demand. The leaders keep the dissident member in the so-called quarantine for a period of time in which the person is allegedly away from the group’s information and after that period of time his or her previous information would be expired.
Nonetheless, the fact is that the quarantine to burn the person’s information about the group, is a dishonest justification; the quarantine is actually a solitary confinement in which the member is kept under mental and physical torture. This is the leader’s last chance to coerce the person in order to maintain him or her in the Cult of Rajavi. All members, even those who work in the lowest levels of the group’s hierarchy, are forced to undergo a quarantine period, according to defectors of the group. Hilariously, even if the member has no reliable information and has been cooking or grooming all the time, he or she must still go through the quarantine before defection.
Pressure to coerce again
The first and most important intention of the group’s leaders to set up the so-called quarantine is to push the person into an environment similar to that of solitary confinement. There is no specific time for the end of the quarantine days. Mental and psychological pressures during the quarantine period, are the factors that often lead to the withdrawal of many troops. A person in a quarantine environment is questioned and interrogated on various occasions under different pretexts.
The member who, due to psychological stress and disappointment in leaving the group normally, admits to be quarantined. The person must undergo more severe obligations in the quarantine than the past, so he or she no longer desires to leave the group. In fact, when the member gets out of the quarantine accepts that his or her survival or death will be at the disposal of the organization! The person signs a commitment letter at the end of the solitary. Signing of such commitments, of course, implies how horrible the quarantine atmosphere is that the person has been convinced to stay!
In such a situation, another secondary consequence of defection is also eliminated; firstly, the person is not any more at the height of dissatisfaction among other members, which makes it harder for others to follow his path; second, he has not been imprisoned to compromise the organization. After the so-called quarantine, if the applicant for defection returns to the cult with the signed documents, others in the group will be shown “the regret of a wrong decision”.
An opportunity to get rid of a disturbing element
The physical elimination option is still on the table, in the MEK. Regarding the revelations defectors have made about the MEK’s notorious violent system, this option is still left with the group leaders dealing with the individual who want to defect. However, this option is not simply practicable like the time the group was located in Iraq. They are not able to kill dissident members because the UNHCR has enrolled almost all members of the group after its relocation in Albania and it will force the group authorities to respond about the fate of the rank and file.
In the quarantine environment, mental and psychological pressures and lack of knowledge about the ending time of the quarantine, sometimes make it difficult for people who are not willing to return to the group themselves. So, they might commit suicide. This option is an ideal ending for the heads of group when it comes to defection requests. Besides, they are free to set scenes for the death of some of the high-risk members of the group in the quarantine.
Control the defection rate
One of the coolest mechanisms of the organization to build quarantine is to control the exit rate. In fact, the MEK, by setting the timetable for departure, are trying to show that there is a high degree of cooperation and understanding with the applicants of defection
In sum, the quarantine is the last station of the MEK members, who are not willing to return in any way and under no pressure. They stay strong. They do not commit suicide or they cannot simply be physically killed by the group commanders. Also, this is the last station for the heads of the MEK and Maryam Rajavi, who are endeavoring to coerce hundreds of dissatisfied and dissident members.