Hanif Heidarnejad, former member of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) has focused on the cases of children of the group who were smuggled to Europe and North America under the order of the group’s leader Massoud Rajavi.
Atefeh Sebdani is one of those children who published her autobiography a few months ago. The book was welcome among Swedish public opinion. As a journalist, Heidarnejad has published a review on the book raising the case of children who were systematically abused in the Rajavi’s ruling system as a legal case in Sweden and Germany:
The painful experience of Atefeh Sebdani and many other children who were separated from their families by the MEK teaches us that non-democratic forces, including the People’s Mojahedin Organization, do not have the authority to be among the Iranian opposition forces. First of all, this organization should be held accountable in a fair court and before the eyes of public opinion due to policies that violate human rights in its organization or due to character assassination and pressure on defectors and opponents.
At the end of 1991 the MEK separated hundreds of children, who lived in the camps and bases of the group in Iraq, from their parents and sent them from Iraq to different countries in Europe and North America . The number of these children is between 700 and 900. In this way, the MEK leaders deprived children of their parents and destroyed the foundation of family. The MEK has never published any report about the fate of these children, and there is no information about the condition of many of them.
More than 120 of those children were sent to Sweden. Atefeh was five years old at that time, and along with her two younger brothers, she was one of the children who left Sweden. In the past 30 years, she carried the pain and emotional wounds caused by separation from her parents. Sometimes, these pains during teenage years and the beginning of her youth pushed her to thinking of suicide. She could not find answers to any of her questions, she could not trust anyone, and life had no meaning and purpose for her. Despite all the difficulties, Atefeh started a family, became a mother and succeeded in family, work and social life.
When Atefeh and her two younger brothers were separated from their parents, she was five years old. The brothers, one was three years old and the other was still an infant. The children smuggled from Iraq to Western countries included the following age groups (age calculated based on the year of birth and not based on the month and day of birth): 17 years old: 3 people, 16 years old: 15 people, 15 years old: 17 people, 14-year-old: 16 people, 13-year-old: 22 people, 12-year-old: 31 people, 11-year-old: 59 people, 10-year-old: 67 people, 9-year-old: 102 people, 8-year-old: 96 people, 7-year-old: 98 people, 6-year-old: 90 people, 5 years old 51 people, 4 years old: 55 people, 3 years old: 50 people, 2 years old: 23 people, 1 year old: 33 people, under one year old 20 people, unknown 22 people.
In her own experience, Atefeh Sebdani talks about herself, her two brothers and two other children who had been fostered by an Iranian family who were sympathizers of the MEK. She explains that this family received huge monthly payments in the name of these children and went on luxurious trips with the money, but these children had the least facilities and were not taken to trips. The example of Atefeh Sebdani, along with the example of Amin Gol Maryami in Cologne, Germany, shows that the MEK has been purposefully defrauding government offices for many years in two countries, namely in Sweden and in Germany. In the name of children, the group has deceived the authorities and pocketed the taxpayers’ money under the cover of taking care of children.
In her interview with Farah Shilandri, Atefeh Sebdani explains that not only her, but many other separated children who were raised by the MEK or their supporters, were subjected to physical violence or even rape by their guardians. Some of those children suffered dreadful fates such as addiction, attempted suicide, and prostitution. They suffer from pressure and constant mental-psychological discomfort for their whole lives.
The public prosecutor’s offices of Stockholm and Cologne should take action and try the leaders of the MEK before the court by referring to several cases that show the systematic crime committed by the group against children in this organization for the following reasons: Violating the rights of children and separating them from their families, violating the laws of illegal entry and exit to countries, illegally keeping children in the hands of unauthorized persons, physical and sexual violence against these children. In cases where they were aware of it, making money through defrauding government offices in the name of children, illegally sending some of these children from their countries of residence in European or North American countries to Iraq, and recruiting children as child soldiers, which in some cases lead to their death. If the prosecutors of these cities are aware of these cases, why have not taken action yet? This is a question that will be clarified over time.