Mohammad Koohestani was born in 1982 when his parents had a clandestine life in Iran. His father Mostafa Koohestani had married his mother Zahra Farahnak three years earlier because the Mujahedin Khalq organization had ordered them to do so. Mohammad was the fruit of an organizational marriage.
After a while, Mohammad and his family were disappeared. The Farahnaks (the family of his mother) do not know exactly when Zahra, her husband and son left Iran to join the MEK in Iraq. It is estimated that they were smuggled across the Iran-Iraq border to relocate in the group’s Camp Ashraf in Iraq, in 1983 or 1984.
In 1988, Mohammad’s father, Morteza was killed in the MEK’s cross border operation against Iran, “Eternal Light” (Forough Javidan). And, Mohammad had to stay in a group life with other MEK children at Camp Ashraf. In 1990, when he was only eight years old, Mohammad was smuggled to Europe together with 700 other MEK children, under the order of Massoud Rajavi.
Eight years later, he was among those MEK children who were recruited as child soldiers by the group and sent back to Iraq. At Camp Ashraf he was got to wear military uniform and to receive military trainings. He served as the MEK’s army soldier in Iraqi deserts until the group was disarmed by the US army in 2003.
On July 28th 2009, Iraqi army decided to set a station inside Camp Ashraf. Massoud Rajavi leader of the MEK, ordered the rank and file to build a human shield against the Iraqi forces to stop them from entering the Camp. The clashes were sparked by the coerced members of the MEK and ended with the killing of 11 members. 35 more including Mohammad Koohestani were injured. He was hit in head.
Since then, Mohammad has been suffering severe headaches. He is 40 years old residing in the group’s camp in Manza, Albania right now. He still suffers headache and takes painkillers and sedative pills, according to the group defectors.
Although Mohammad and his mother live in the same camp, they do not have regular communications unless once or twice a year on special occasions. Family relationship is forbidden in the MEK. They do not have any contact with their relatives in Iran, either.