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The collapse of Ali Asghar Zamani’s family, the outcome of joining the MEK

Ali Asghar Zamani

A family of four was collapsed immediately after they joined the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). Ali Asghar Zamani, his wife and their two children were recruited by the MEK agents, in 2003.
The Zamanis did not have any idea that they were going to Iraq to the military Camp Ashraf. The MEK agents had promised them immigration to Europe to build a happy life there. But, for years their destination was the isolated camp in Iraqi deserts where the family fell apart.

Ali and his wife were forced to divorce. His initial resistance against this order did not work. His wife was finally separated from him. There is no married member in the MEK.

Their 17-year-old son was coerced to wear military uniform and their little daughter was taken back to Iran. Since then, they could hardly ever see each other. “During the twenty years of membership in the MEK, I could see my son four or five times, from long distance,” he recounts.

The group leaders wanted to hand the little girl to human traffickers to take her to Iran, but Ali refused. The leaders told him that he should scarify his daughter for the group cause. He promised them to get his daughter to Iran by his own and then turn back to Iraq.

After he left his daughter to his mother in Iran, he got back to Iraq, this time to save his son but it was not a simple process. He was not allowed to visit his son. In the MEK, family relationship was forbidden; leaving the group was considered treason. Breaking these rules would lead to punishment. “They didn’t show my son to me, and if I happened to see him, I would be under commanders’ control; we couldn’t talk or contact each other,” he writes in his official announcement for leaving the group. “Because any kind of family contact was considered against the organization’s ruling.”

However, Ali succeeded to talk to his son after the group was relocated to Camp Liberty, near Baghdad airport. Ali got sick but his son could manage to visit the UN officials in the camp. He was aided to leave the MEK and to immigrate to Europe.
The father got stuck in the MEK for about a decade more. He was not able to leave the group until last month. “As a dissident member, I was jailed in a room when the Albanian Police raided Ashraf 3 two months ago,” he writes. “When the Albanian police came to the camp for inspection, they locked me in the proper room where I was living. Two members watched over me so that I could not go to the police and ask for asylum.”

Finally, he could ditch his commanders on a day that they had come to Tirana to do some errands. He escaped the group and surrendered himself to Police. He was welcome. He joined Nejat Society Albania that aided him get back to free world.
“The life in the MEK was full of suffering; we were under constant suppression in the MEK,” he says. “I could not meet or call my children in all those 20 years but since I left the group I can talk to my son and his family every night.”

Ali Asghar Zamani had a family of four before their involvement in the MEK. Today each member of the family is in a separate place. His wife in in Ashraf 3. His son is in a European country. His daughter is in Iran, and he is looking for a new life in Tirana, Albania.

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