Mohammad Reza Babakhanloo is a name which has been listed as a victim of the Mujahedin-e Khalq by numerous former members of the group. The most recent testimony on the heartbreaking death of Mohammad Reza was given by a defector of the group Jaber Taee Semiromi (nicknamed Arash).
Arash was interviewed by Siamak Naderi an MEK ex-member who makes contents to denounce the group in order to illuminate the Iranian diaspora. During the recent interview, Arash testifies about various cases of human rights violations that the MEK leaders committed against him and other rank and file of the group. He was an eye-witness of the self-immolation of Mohammad Reza Babakhanloo.
Mohammad Reza and Arash both joined the MEK in Iraq in 1997 but not in the same way. Arash was an ardent 19-year-old supporter of the group’s cause and was dedicated to fight the Iranian government while Mohammad Reza was a 16-year-old teenager who had no idea about the Mujahedin and their cause. He was just a poor peasant who was looking for a job to make a living and to treat his sick father.
According to Arash, Mohammad Reza had been recruited by an MEK commander, named Mahmood Zarif. He had promised Mohammad Reza to grant him job and payment in order to provide his parents and in particular his father’s treatment. In contrast, Mohammad Reza was forced to wear military uniform and receive military trainings at Camp Ashraf.
He was kept in the entrance section of the camp and was coerced to attend brainwashing and self-criticism sessions. “I recall that day, he had been beaten by Zabeti and Zarif (his commanders),” Arash says. “I saw him rushing to the commanders’ office with a gallon of oil. He set himself on fire. Nasser Kiomarsian was crying, Hassan Nazari was trying to put out the fire.”
Arash believes that the MEK leaders did not give enough medical care to the burned boy and he simply passed away. “Mahvash Sepehri just announced his death as saying he died and we buried him!”, Arash recalls.