Leaders of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), have been violating the rights of their own members for over 4 decades. Violation of human rights in the group was the result of its cult-like attitudes. The MEK, under the rule of Massoud Rajavi was no more a political group. Rajavi has turned it to a destructive cult of personality since he came to power in the MEK.
Human rights abuses began from the very days after the bizarre marriage of Massoud with Maryam Qajar Azdanloo –later called Maryam Rajavi. Maryam was married to Mehdi Abrishamchi, a high-ranking member of the group but her husband handed her over to the leader as a sign of loyalty. This was the start of a series of human rights violations in the MEK which came one after the other.
During the 1984 and 1985, following the so-called ideological marriage, all married members of the MEK were coerced to divorce. Male members had to surrender their wives to the group leader. Female members were manipulated to consider Massoud as the only man of their life. Celibacy became mandatory in the Cult of Rajavi. Any disobedience to the command would lead to punishment including interrogation, imprisonment, torture and even death.
Punishments were along with a brainwashing system that worked through the hierarchy of the cult. Mind manipulation process was amplified. Self-criticism sessions, daily reports on personal thoughts and actions led to suppression by the commanders and pressure by peers.
Members were isolated from the outside world. Mental and physical bars were formed around the group. News was filtered. Contacts to family and friends were forbidden. The entire members had to focus on the group’s leader. His words were considered a holy book.
The brainwashing system of Massoud Rajavi kept on destroying the entire family center. In 1991, after the first Gulf War, Rajavi ordered parents to surrender their children to the group. Around 7 hundred children of Mujahed parents, from two months old to 15 years old, were smuggled from Iraq to Europe and North America where they were left in team houses, foster families or orphanages. The number of heartbreaking stories of MEK children mounts to the number of the smuggled ones.
About 3 hundred of these children were smuggled back to the MEK’s camp in Iraq. They were recruited by the MEK as child soldiers of the group’s so-called National Liberation Army. Child soldiers of the MEK were coerced to wear uniforms and receive military trainings. Several of them could later escape the group and reveal what they endured in the Cult of Rajavi. The stories of former child soldiers of the MEK became viral in the social media.
In addition, a lot of former members of the group published their revelations about human rights abuses inside the MEK. Their personal accounts of living in the MEK destructive cult were covered by media and human rights bodies such as Human Rights Watch.
Today, 4 decades after the ruling of Massoud and Maryam Rajavi over the MEK, the group members are still under constant human rights violations. Forced hijab, forced labor, forced celibacy are only a few examples. Brainwashing sessions are still held every night at Ashraf 3. Members are not allowed to contact their families outside the group. Even if they have family members inside the group, they are not able to have routine visits of normal family members.
The international human brights bodies and the Albanian authorities must take proper actions in order to stop human rights abuse in the Cult of Rajavi.