The Mujahedin-e Khalq terrorist group, known as MEK, which was listed as a terrorist organization from 1997 to 2012 and has a criminal record of killing 17,000 people, is now presented as a purely political group and engaged in human rights advocacy from anti-Iranian satellite channels, such as Iran International. This cult has created horrific relationships and situations both at home and abroad. Violence perpetrated against its own members is an important issue which perhaps has not been sufficiently addressed.
Violence against members
The issue of torture and secret prisons is raised only by militants who have spent time in MEK camps. From another point of view, one of the consolidated practices of this sect is represented by the justifications that the leaders of the MEK express for some issues, in particular regarding the internal cleansing and the killing of dissident members. The imprisonments and tortures MEK leaders carried out against rebel members included long-term imprisonments (without any contact with the outside world), solitary confinement, torture, psychological and verbal abuse, forcibly extracted confessions, threats of death and torture which in many cases led people to death.
Prisons inside the MEK
Statements from isolated members indicate that the MEK used three types of imprisonment within its camps: the first type consists of small residential units known as Mehmansara (guesthouses). Those who tried to escape from the organization were locked up in these units, unable to leave their respective facilities to talk or meet anyone inside the camp. Karim Haqi, a high-level member of the terrorist group, who was in charge of the security of Massoud Rajavi, the leader of the sect, says: “In 1991, I was Rajavi’s security commander, they didn’t believe I wanted to leave, they put me, with my wife and six-month-old son, in a building called Eskan, a series of residential units. The organization had built a very high wall around these units and installed barbed wire inside (so that no one could get out of the fence); a watchtower and patrols. During this period, when our food rations were reduced, they beat us, insulted us and threatened to have us executed.” Another defecting cult member admitted that, in 1991, after submitting a request to leave the group, they were locked up in various rooms in the camp. “When we entered the camp of the organization, they took our passports and identification documents, and later, when we told them we wanted to leave, they refused to give them back to us. They locked us up in buildings called Eskans and other prisons.”
Masoud Bani Sadr, who was in charge of the group’s diplomatic representation in Europe and North America, writes that after a meeting with Massoud Rajavi and other senior members, the conclusion was reached that he himself had been judged to be a corrupt individual and therefore should become a Bengali . “After that, my supervisor asked me to become Bengali and think like one, which meant that I had to go to solitary confinement to reflect and write. This is a severe form of mental torture, so much so that some members of the organization preferred to kill themselves rather than become Bengalis.”
The third type of detention reported by former members includes imprisonment, physical torture and interrogation in secret prisons thrown into gang cells. These prisons are mainly used to persecute political dissidents. Most of the cult members were unaware of the existence of these prisons, people who have been incarcerated in these centers claim that they were unaware of their existence until their firsthand personal experience. One of the witnesses, Mohammad Hossein Sobhani, claims that he spent eight and a half years, from September 1992 to January 2001, in solitary confinement cells in MEK camps. Another witness, Javaheri Yar, stayed there for five years, from November 1995 to December 2000. Both people were senior members of the MEK and wanted to leave, but were told they would not be allowed to leave due to the great amount of information they were aware of. They were then imprisoned and finally handed over to the Iraqi authorities and transferred to Abu Ghraib prison.
A member of Rajavi’s cult, who managed to escape from the dreaded Camp Ashraf, later said: “Since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the leaders of the group have changed their strategy and Camp Ashraf has become a prison where prisoners do not have the possibility of communicating with the outside of the camp”. According to him, from that time until today, MEK leaders have been training members of this group to carry out terrorist attacks, spending millions of dollars. According to the revealing statements of three members who fled from Ashraf camp, MEK leaders persecuted and tortured members of this group and did not allow them to leave the camp and join their families. According to them, many MEK members want to flee, but fear for their future. Reportedly, dozens of MEK members were killed on the orders of their leaders; the only fault of these people was to try to escape from the camp. According to another such witness, MEK leaders use all kinds of ways to brainwash and oppress the inmates of Ashraf, such as group meetings where each member had to account for his sexual tastes and other members had to insult him by ridiculing him. . Furthermore, these people stated that those in Ashraf camp are not allowed any contact with outside the camp, and if they try to escape, they will be killed by the guards or arrested and executed. All these cases are only a small part of the crimes of the MEK terrorist group, which, with obvious human rights violations, keeps its members in the camp as prisoners, and none of the human rights organizations make the slightest effort to save these people.
Nejat Society demonstration in front of the ICRC
In this regard, the “Nejat” association, formed by the families of the members imprisoned in the Ashraf camp or, better to say, in the prison of the MEK (terrorist cult of Rajavi) in Albania, organized a demonstration in front of the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Tehran on May 8, and asked this humanitarian organization to make sure of the people caught in the MEK’s clutches. The purpose of this rally, which coincided with World Red Cross Day, was to draw the attention of international organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, to the most blatant human rights violations of the trapped members in the MEK camp in Albania and to take immediate action to save these people. International Day of the Red Cross and Red Crescent is celebrated every year on 8 May. This day was chosen because it was the birthday of Henry Dunant, one of the promoters and founders of the Red Cross. Henry Dunant is considered the first Nobel Peace Prize winner.
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At the end of this demonstration, the crowd present signed a declaration, of which we report: “As indicated in the mission of the Red Cross, to prevent and alleviate suffering, sustain life and health and ensure respect for human beings, especially in emergency situations. We expect that the imprisoned members will soon be recognized as refugees thanks to the humanitarian diplomacy of the Red Cross and thus be saved from a sectarian life and difficult mental and physical conditions, avoiding tragedies such as individual and collective murders and suicides”. In this statement, which was delivered to the representative of the Red Cross in Iran, it is further emphasized that: “The MEK, by creating a prison camp without communication with the outside world, prevents the presence and communication of families and also of all international institutions, including the Red Cross with the prisoners; the parents of every inmate are deprived of contact and visits with their children, some of them for decades”.
By Alireza Niknam – come don chisciotte
Alireza Niknam, reporter and researcher in the field of terrorist groups, especially the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) terrorist group. He holds a degree in political science from the University of Tehran and writes articles for various international news agencies. In addition to journalism, he is a political commentator and consultant to the TerrorSpring Institute in the field of counterterrorism.