Bijar Rahimi left the headquarters of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) after 21 years. In 2002, he had been smuggled from Iran to the MEK’s camp in Iraq by the group’s agents.
Bijar is from, Iranshahr, Sistan Baloochestan, Iran. He was 41 when an MEK’s smuggler promised to take him to Europe to have a high-income job. He trusted the MEK’s recruiter and eventually he was trafficked across Pakistan border, and he was then taken to Camp Ashraf, Iraq.
“At Baghdad airport, I was received by two Iranians,” Bijar recounts his story. “They drove me to a place where everyone was wearing military uniform.”
In response to his question about the location, he was told that it was the MEK’s headquarters: Camp Ashraf! “I asked if I would be taken to Europe from there and they answered that I had to stay there for a while waiting to be informed about when and how to be transferred to Europe,” he recalls.
Bijar was given a military uniform and forced to stay in the entrance unit of Camp Ashraf where he saw a large number of people who had been taken there with the promise of immigration to Europe and lucrative career, too.
During the first months, Bijar was still pursuing the issue of going to Europe. Once he was told that the French Police had raided the MEK’s base in Paris and had arrested Maryam Rajavi. “They told us that going to Europe is impossible”, he says.
After the US invasion to Iraq, the country was insecure, they had to stay in Camp Ashraf under the cult-like ruling of Massoud Rajavi. He was under the group’s manipulation system for 21 years. He was not allowed to contact his family during those years. “They would clearly say that the main enemy of a Mujahed-e Khalq is his or her family,” Bijar Rahimi testifies.
His family went to Camp Ashraf to visit Bijar but they were not allowed to meet him. The MEK leaders never told Bijar about that. “I just know about that after I left the group,” he says.
After the MEK’s relocation in Albania, the brainwashing system of the MEK kept on working, isolating members from the free world. “Ideological meetings, reporting on peers, self-criticism sessions and psychological suppression still continued in Albania,” Bijar states. “I just wanted to get rid of the pressure and to make the dream of contacting my family come true, so I decided to escape the group.”
Despite the lies fabricated by the MEK leaders about the Albanian Police and the Association for the Support of Iranians Living in Canada (ASILA), Bijar surrendered to the Police and then he was welcome by ASILA.
“My escape from the MEK was like running out to the darkness,” he says. “Despite my fears I was assured by ASILA and Nejat Society that what the MEK leaders say about them is pure lie.”