The establishment of the Association to Support the Iranians Living in Albania (ASILA) was an opening to the path families of members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq have been going through during the two past decades. ASILA is a shelter for defectors of the MEK to stay safe against the threats created by the group. The association’s executive director Hassan Heirani is the key Iranian member of ASILA who is actively working for ASILA’s mission.
Heirani was recently interviewed by another former member of the MEK living in Iran, Bakhshali Alizadeh. Alizadeh, a member of Nejat Society Tehran office, sked him about the recent conditions ruling MEK’s hostages in Camp Ashraf 3, Albania. Heirani said:
“An MEK hostage, named Mahmoud Dehghani has recently succeeded to escape Camp Ashraf 3. The MEK-run media has not published the news on his escape yet. Mahmoud Dehghani is free now. Immediately after he fled the group, we informed the Albanian Police and the International bodies about his defection from the MEK. The Albanian Police has told the MEK that Mahmoud Dehghani has decided to leave the group by his free will and so they cannot hand him back to the group. This was a crucial point for the MEK. We also realized that the Albanian Police is not supporting the MEK anymore. Thus, we got hopeful that more hostages will find the chance to escape the MEK.”
Bakhshali Alizadeh asked Heirani about life conditions of the MEK defectors who are members of ASILA right now. “All of our friends have jobs earning their own income expect for two of them who are too old to work,” he answered. “They may face difficulties to make a living but they enjoy their freedom unlike when they were in the MEK that were not able even to choose the color of their socks.”
Asked about the part that families can play to aid ASILA reach its goals, Heirani said:
“ASILA is like a tree that its branches grow in Albania but its roots are among families in Iran, those who are expecting the release of their loved ones in the MEK. Families and their support are our main resources. The actions they take wipe out all the propaganda and disinformation that the MEK launches. The MEK cult did not want the Albanian authorities to understand that it does not allow members to contact their families but letters and video messages sent by families have warned the Albanian government about the fraudulent and undemocratic approach of the MEK.”
Heirani assured families that all video messages and letters sent by families are translated to Albanian language and referred to the authorities of the country. “Families should keep on the good work by sending their messages,” he said. “We get more confident and keep on going forward every single day.”