Taleb Jalilian believed in the cause of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). He joined the group when he was young but after a while inside the group, he reached a state of mind that he was ready to be imprisoned and tortured as a procedure to leave the group.
Taleb Jalilian was a member of the MEK and a true believer of the group’s cause to fight the Iranian government. When the leader of the group Massoud Rajavi ordered the start of armed struggle against Islamic Republic, Taleb was seeking a way to receive military trainings, so he joined the Iranian army!
While being a soldier of the Iranian army, he tried to contact the group which was located in Iraq. It had been sheltered by Saddam Hussein who was at war with Iran at the time. After he was connected with the MEK, he was charged with the leaders to transfer the group’s forces through Iran-Iraq border.
Under the order of the leaders, he stopped his duty, and he left Iran for Iraq where he joined the MEK’s so-called National Liberation Army at Camp Ashraf. After a while things started to change.
“I still believed in the group’s cause,” he says in an interview with Mehr News Agency. “I was certain about it but gradually I began to hesitate, I began to have problems with the group, but I did not criticize the group at all. I just said that I could not keep on struggling.”
The cult-like atmosphere of the MEK and its oppressive ruling made Taleb Jalilian, and many other members of the group want to leave it but, this was a difficult path to take. Like many others, Taleb asked to leave the MEK but in response he was imprisoned in solitary confinement for a year, eventually interrogated and tortured by his own commanders.
“There was a judiciary system in the MEK,” he recounts. “The chief of the system was Nader Rafiee. The judge was Hassan Mohasel. Kak Adel, Nariman, Ebrahim Zakeri and Majid Alamian were guardians of the prison, interrogators and torturers.”
“They beat me to force me to get back to the group,” he says. “I was so terribly beaten by them that I could not hold my urine and stool for some time.”
Under the ruling of Massoud Rajavi and Maryam Rajavi, the torturers tied his hands and feet and blindfolded him. “I could hear Ahmad Kamyab who was beating me in nose,” he recalls. “He was an athlete. He was strong enough to beat me harshly.”
The MEK torturers told Taleb, “If you are determined to give up you have to sign a testimony to admit that you are a mercenary of the Iranian intelligence ministry, otherwise you will stay here until you rot.”
Taleb did not want to accept the deal. He had left his family, wife and his youth behind for the MEK’s cause. He had devoted his everything to the Rajavis, he could not admit the label: mercenary of the Iranian government.
He went on hunger strike until he was finally released. However, he was not allowed to leave the camp yet. Massoud Rajavi promised to deliver him and others like him to the Red Cross, but they were part of a deal with Saddam Hussein. They were delivered to Abu Ghraib prison and after a while they were exchanged with Iraq POWs who had been released by Iranian authorities.
Taleb was terrified. He was an officer of the Iranian army. He had escaped and joined an opponent military group. He was sure that he will be sentenced to death by an Iranian military court.
They were transferred from Iraqi border to Tehran while they did not trust their fellow countrymen. “I was waiting death penalty but after a month of imprisonment in Evin prison, they allowed us to visit our family and later we were freed,” he recounts.
Taleb began a new life in his hometown. He went to university, graduated and found a good job. He has a family and lives in Iran now.