His Excellency Mr. Taulant Balla
Honorable Interior Minister of the Republic of Albania
Greetings and regards
I am Bijar Rahimi, a former member of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK). I escaped from the organization’s camp on July 21, 2023, and on the same day, I approached the police station and introduced myself and announced that I do not wish to return to the camp and I want to join ASILA.
First of all, I have to thank the very good and reassuring assistance and treatment of the police, who, considering the fact that I had a lot of fear, assured me that I will be completely safe, and what the MEK said about ASILA and Nejat Society, and the conditions of outside the camp and the behavior of the Albanian police are completely false.
The idea of leaving the organization, which was already in my head, got stronger ever since my brother Sarfaraz Rahimi left the MEK. When the organization told me that I don’t have the right to contact and meet my brother and my brother’s wife, I decided to run away and I was always looking for an opportunity. They informed me that my brother had joined ASILA, and because of this, the organization was pressuring me and deploring me. When I went out, they watched me closely and rarely allowed me to leave the headquarters.
During the violent attack on ASILA’s book booth at a book fair in Durres, they told me that they had beaten my brother and his wife, which made me very upset and worried, and of course they proudly showed me the film. They claimed that after the arrest of 11 members in this regard, they were all released unconditionally, and they claimed that the police is fully cooperating with them and is against the former members.
I was trying to be able to see my brother Sarfaraz Rahimi at least once while traveling to Tirana. I was informed that he is married and has a son. They told me these things within the organization as my brother’s mistakes and crimes, and they blamed me and asked me why I wanted to see him. But I was extremely eager to hug my nephew.
On June 20, 2023, police officers came to our camp for inspection with prior notice. Just half an hour before the police came, all the members were told to leave their workplaces because the police wanted to come to Ashraf and search. We were all surprised as to why the police had entered the headquarters with this amount of force for inspection. We were always told that the Albanian police are always there for us. No one expected such a visit from the police.
All the members were in shock because they did not expect such an action from the police. The police had come several times before to check, but they came with one or two cars, did a superficial check and left. This was the idea of the authorities at first, but this time they came with a large and unbelievable number, which was new for the organization.
At first there was no problem and the search was going smoothly and it was assumed that they would leave soon. But as soon as they went to the computers, there was an order from the authorities that they should not let them take the computers at any cost. The people from whom the computers were taken were ordered by the commanders to resist and not allow the computers to be taken anyway. At this time, some members started to break and destroy the computers. Some attacked the police and tried to take the computers from them, and some even lied down in front of the police car to prevent the cars from moving to take the computers, which finally faced the reaction of the police force after several policemen were injured.
After this incident, I was inside the organization for a month and I would like to briefly let you know what happened in this one month:
The activities of the MEK were already completely focused on the interior of the country, which recruited the people inside the country through cyberspace. They were guided either as a team in the form of rebel centers or individually, through a very wide and unlimited internet connection from Albania. They encouraged and trained them to carry out propaganda and harmful and if possible, terrorist activities, and also send them money.
After the arrival of the police and the conflict that occurred, the internet of the headquarters was completely cut off for three days, which was said to be because the servers had a problem, but some said that the Albanian government had cut off the internet of the camp. After three days, the internet was established again, albeit weaker than before, which some said was taken via satellite internet. Because the organization did not want to stop working inside the country, it had made the communication in shifts during the day and night so that people could communicate with their teams inside Iran. Different sections were working with the internet 24 hours a day in turn, and the MEK’s TV broadcast reports, videos and news about the activities of the rebel groups every night in the news.
A public meeting was held by Zahra Merrikhi, the first secretary of the MEK, sometime after the release of the statement of the US Department of State, which supported Albania’s action regarding the MEK. After that, a number of online meetings were held by Maryam Rajavi, which was related to the Paris meeting. Maryam, who had already left Albania for France with a number of MEK officials, did not take any position in this regard. Later, a written message was given by Massoud Rajavi, the ideological leader of the MEK, which was read to the people.
In a public meeting for all members, Zahra Merrikhi spoke about the “brutal attack” by the “Albanian fascist police” and condemned American officials for issuing a statement from the US Department of State. Zahra Merrikhi held this meeting to encourage the members and to bring them out of despair. She pointed out that what the police took was of no importance. She said that the MEK has many influential supporters at the world level, and the Albanian police and judicial system cannot do a damn thing against us.
After three days, all work started with the same order as before. People were told to be strictly and fully engaged in affairs inside Iran and were assured that this matter, i.e., the visit of the police, would not happen again. For a while, a superficial inspection of the entry and exit of cars at the gate was carried out by the police, which was stopped later.
Also, after this incident, going outside the camp was prohibited for two days. On the third day, only people who had specialized medical appointments went to Tirana. From the fourth day, the routine returned to before the incident and people were moving outside and everything was the same as before.
Massoud Rajavi’s message was given after the change of the Minister of Interior of Albania, which was read in every headquarters. He pretended as if he had a role in this alteration. He said that the new interior minister of Albania in the government of Edi Rama is a close friend of the MEK, and in the past he visited the Ashraf 3 base in Albania and the museum, and he also met and talked with the MEK in the United States.
Massoud Rajavi added that: “you have experienced 14 years of stability in Ashraf and Liberty with the revolution of Maryam and your organization, and now you must be prepared for any conspiracy with the revolution, internship, war and battle with the enemy”. He called the action of the police a conspiracy against the MEK and condemned it.
Regarding the departure of Maryam Rajavi and a large number of her companions to France, it was mentioned in Massoud Rajavi’s message that: “I took a risk by sending Maryam to the meeting in Paris and I accepted this risk.” There are many people who are constantly commuting outside of Albania. These people also went with Maryam Rajavi.
The atmosphere of problems and requests to leave the MEK is increasing day by day, but after this incident, problems took a wider dimension. Many wanted to separate and leave. The organization threatened them that if they leave, they will be caught by the police who will mistreat them and take them to Karrec camp like ASILA members and they will have a hard life. The organization promised people who wanted to leave that it would take them to Greece or Germany.
The organization’s fear is that people will leave and then join ASILA, which is supported by the Nejat Society. When ASILA’s villa was searched by the police and their computers and mobile phones were seized, the organization celebrated and declared that being the end of ASILA. When six members of ASILA were taken to Karrec camp, the organization made a lot of propaganda to scare people, and it made a lot of maneuvers on deportation of Hasan Heirani to Greece and Ehsan Bidi to Iran. These police actions against ASILA made many people who could have left the organization and joined ASILA to give up, and this was a great help to the organization. We had believed that the Albanian police were all supporters of the MEK and against ASILA and former members.
They brainwash the members inside the organization. All the words of the officials are to give hope to the members to stay in the camp. They advertise against the families so much that some members consider the family as their main enemy. Massoud Rajavi is a scheming man who has hysterical antagonism with the families of the members. He considers families to be in conflict with his personal interests. The organization is very afraid of the families of the members coming to Albania because it will create a point of hope for the members.
Now there are people inside the camp who do not follow the rules as the organization wants and this is quite evident. For example, there are people who do not welcome revolutionary meetings at all and do not participate in revolutionary training committees and revolutionary semesters and do not read any reports about themselves. Or they don’t participate in Maryam Rajavi’s meetings that were online, especially internal meetings. Or they don’t pay attention to the rule of wearing official clothes in public meetings and participate in normal clothes. Or if they come to the meeting, they constantly go outside the meeting and talk to each other and spend time. They tried not to put pressure on these people because it was possible for them to escape.
Regarding the internal work, each section followed a specific province. My province, “Sistan and Baluchestan”, was also on the agenda. Several of them were responsible for recruitment in cyberspace and if a person was recruited, they would work on that person. They mostly used to set fire to government and administrative places, install placards, write slogans, and fill anti-Iran clips. These actions were performed by local forces all over Iran. These activities were called breaking the suffocation.
When an individual was recruited and then the person did some work and became trustworthy, that person was given the necessary training and this person entered the rebel centers. Those who are not reliable or who do not participate in activities were never included in the rebel centers and these people were only fed politically and they were used to take information and money for others.
Currently, all the sections inside the Ashraf 3 camp in Albania, except the facilities, kitchen, and administrative sections, are doing internal work (guiding the rebel centers inside the country). If there was a plan of a rebel center to set fire to a place, the person in charge of that center in Ashraf 3 should have sat behind his computer and directed the work until the end of the work and taking photos and videos and a complete report.
Many people inside the camp want to escape. They need support. Many want to contact their families, but the organization prevents them. The Albanian government should act in this regard and help those who want to separate. I request you to talk to these people and assure them like me that they will be safe outside the organization. I can give you their names. I will also be happy if I can help to free my other captive friends.
Also, the organization is extremely afraid of the presence of families in Tirana, especially behind the gates of Ashraf 3. The reason is that they know that if the family feelings revive in them and the effects of brainwashing disappear, they will hope for a life outside the cult and they will separate from the organization. I request you to give visas to the families to enter the country and closely follow the fate of their loved ones.
I do thank you in advance for paying attention
Tirana – August 5, 2023