Bijar Rahimi is the most recently defected member of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). He escaped the MEK’s isolated camp near Tirana, two weeks ago. He surrendered himself to the Albanian Police immediately after he left the MEK’s headquarters, Ashraf 3.
Bijar Rahimi joined the Association for the Support of Iranians Living in Albania (ASILA) after his defection. His brother Sarfaraz Rahimi, also defector of the MEK and his Albanian wife Erisa have been active members of ASILA since its foundation.
After his defection from the Cult of Rajavi, Bijar attended a conference titled “Voice of Mothers”, held by ASILA at Hotel Doro City, Tirana. He was one of the main speakers of the event. The audience were impressed by his heart-breaking memoirs of living in the MEK cult-like atmosphere.
Bijar Rahimi considers family as the main reason for his defection. “In the MEK, thinking of your family is forbidden,” he says. “If you think of your family you have to confess it in the daily self-criticism meetings.”
When the MEK was in Iraq, Sarfaraz and Bijar’s little brother went to Camp Ashraf, Iraq and asked for visiting him. The group leaders did not allow Bijar to meet his brother. “I could hear my brother calling my name, but I was not allowed to go and hug him.”
During the 21 years of imprisonment in Massoud Rajavi’s cult of personality, Bijar never could contact his family. “My mother, my father and two of my older brothers died in those years and I never forgive myself for my absence during their last days of life,” Bijar says with tears in his eyes.
The tragic story kept on when the MEK was transferred to Albania and Bijar’s brother, Sarfaraz, could manage to leave the group and build a normal life in Albania. “My brother left the group, got married to Erisa but the MEK leaders did not allow me to attend their wedding party while they were only a few kilometers away.”
He asked the group leaders to let him visit his brother but each time his request was declined. Today, he lives with his brother and his little family. He can hug his nephew, Ermolindo. “In the MEK the Internet and smart phones were forbidden,” he says with a smile on his face. “I do not know how to use a smart phone, my six-year-old nephew is teaching me!”