Home » Former members of the MEK » Soltani’s prison break, an account of escaping Camp Ashraf

Soltani’s prison break, an account of escaping Camp Ashraf

Batul Soltani, former member of the Elite Council of the Mujahedin-e Khalq escaped Camp Ashraf in 2007. She was a long-time member of the group who had been forced by Massoud Rajavi to divorce her husband and to leave her children. She was so brainwashed in the Cult of Rajavi that she was not able to refuse the order of Maryam Rajavi to sleep with Massoud Rajavi. However, once she realized that her commanders were dishonest, she left the group. The story of her escape from Camp Ashraf is really dramatic.

batul soltani and her child

Batul Soltani and her child

Following the so-called ideological revolution that coerced members to divorce their spouses, and after the smuggling of their children out of Iraq, Batul and other rank and file of the group, were kept busy doing difficult physical tasks around their military camp. “I became the commander of a unit of tanks in 1993,” Batul recounts. “I was so busy running eleven tank, each tank three forces. I had no time thinking of myself. I could sleep one or two hours a day.”

Batul Soltani

Batul Soltani at the MEk’s Camp Ashraf

Batul was gradually elevated in the cult’s hierarchy. She was charged with the security unit and then she was smuggled to Britain to learn using computers and ultimately, she was selected to become a member of Rajavi’s Elite Council. As a member of Rajavi’s close female forces she was coerced to attend Salvation Dance and then to Massoud Rajavi’s bed. Batul Soltani was the first female defector of the MEK who revealed Rajavi’s polygamy cult.
“In 2006, as a member of the Elite Council, I had become the topic of the meetings; I was under the focus of the superior rank,” Batul writes. “I was constantly asked why I looked depressed. Even Massoud Rajavi contacted me several times to understand what was wrong with me but I could not tell them about my anxieties. I had missed my children and my husband. Besides, I had a lot of unanswered questions about the group. I felt like losing my whole life for nothing.”

Batoul Soltani

Batool Sultani, photographed in Paris in January 2020.
Photo: Matthew Cassell for The Intercept

What took place on that special day made her determined to leave the MEK. She had been ordered to fix Mozhgan Parsai’s computer network. She entered the network and she discovered a letter. “I ran into a report about myself that Mozhgan Parsai had prepared to send to Maryam Rajavi. All at once, my whole world came crashing down around me. She had written that the Elite Council was in trouble, that I was distracted by thinking about my kids and that I was morally corrupted. I was astonished to read those words.”

The very day, she packed her bag and made her decision to escape the group. Unaccompanied trafficking was prohibited in Camp Ashraf.

“Even if you wanted to go planting in the garden, you had to be accompanied by a peer as your responsible. They said that these rules were for guaranteeing the security of the group but I swear to God that it was because they did not trust anyone inside the organization.”

Thus, Batul found a way to pretend that she was not alone in her jeep: “I put the pack bag on the driver’s side seat,” she recounts her heroic escape. “I put a helmet on that and I tied a scarf around the helmet. When I reached the checkpoint, I told the guard that my comrade was asleep so I could cross the check point.”
It was late at night. The female guard knew that Batul Soltani was one of the commanders of the group so she did not scrutinize anymore. She drove toward the fences around the camp. “I left the car somewhere around the garrison and I escaped that prison”, she writes.

She cut the barbed wires crawled from under them. The guards in the watchtower did not notice her. She walked to the American camp that was settled by the side of Camp Ashraf for escapees from the Cult of Rajavi. And, she found herself free. She told the American authorities that she would not get back to the Mujahedin-e Khalq anymore.

You may also like

Leave a Comment