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Why is le Monde’s investigative report on the MEK child soldiers worth to read?

Le Monde

The French newspaper Le Monde published a detailed report about former child soldiers of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). This report, written by Ghazal Golshiri, has four full pages of this widely circulated newspaper. It is titled: “We, the child-soldiers of the Iranian Mujahedin-e Khalq”. The publication of the report is important based on different aspects.
After the publication of the life story of Amin Gol Maryami, a former child soldier of the MEK, in Germany’s De Zeit magazine at the end of 2021 and the screening of the documentary “Children of Camp Ashraf” in Sweden at the beginning of this year, four full pages of the national newspaper of France were dedicated to this topic. It can be a big step in the advancement of the army of former child soldiers against the leaders of the MEK.

Le Monde, on top of French newspapers

With a circulation of more than 472,000 copies per day, Le Monde was regarded as the most widely circulated French national newspaper in 2022. This French flagship publication introduces its mission to provide the latest news coverage about France and the whole world, with a unique perspective and in-depth analysis. The well-known publication Le Monde is published in a country that has been the safe haven of the People’s Mojahedin Organization for more than four decades.
The main base of the National Council of Resistance, the political wing of the MEK, and Maryam Rajavi’s residence is in the suburbs of the capital, in Auver sur d’oise region. The citizens of Paris and Auver sur d’Oise are used to regularly seeing members of the MEK, women wearing scarves and uniforms, holding book tables and demonstrations around the city squares. Many former French politicians have expressed their support for this organization in terms of being received at the group headquarters and being paid for a ten-minute speech in favor of the MEK.

Ghazal Golshiri and dozens of witnesses of child soldiers

As a Le Monde journalist covering the Middle East, Ghazal Golshiri has journalistic records in Iran, Afghanistan and Europe, focusing on Iran and Afghanistan issues. As a professional, investigative journalist, he has published various reports in Persian, English and French. Covering the protests after the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran, Ghazal Golshiri published several reports about the incidents in Iran in Le Monde.

Following the publication of her recent report in Le Monde, Golshiri wrote on her account on the X social network: “More than a year of work, dozens of witnesses and a hardworking team. I am very proud of this investigative report.”
Ghazal Golshiri is proud of the results of a year of interviewing witnesses MEK’s exploiting child soldiers, while she certainly knows that she will soon be the target of unjust accusations and slanders by the group. Louisa Homrich, the author of the Zeit article, and Sara Moin, the director of t “Children of Camp Ashraf”, were attacked and hated by the MEK media and their agents. At the beginning of her article, Golshiri mentions Hommerich’s article and the story of Amin Gol Maryami as one of her motives for researching the issue of child soldiers of the MEK.

Ghazal Golshiri’s report states that Le Monde magazine’s questions from the MEK remained unanswered. At the same time, Afshin Alavi, a person who holds the title of “Press Spokesman of the People’s Mujahedin Organization”, immediately after the publication of the report, in a letter he wrote to the heads of Le Monde publication, accused Golshiri of selecting the interviewees who are known for their relations with the Iranian government!

Who are the interviewees of Le Monde?

Among the dozens of interviewees who spoke out in the Le Monde report about the violation of the rights of child soldiers of the MEK, only the names of three people have been revealed, and the rest of eyewitnesses whose testimonies are mentioned in the report stayed anonymous probably out of fear. They did not want their names to be disclosed. The three young men who have been very active in revealing the cult-like nature of the MEK in recent years are: Amin Gol Maryami, Mohammad Reza Torabi and Amir Vafa Yaghmai.

Amin Golmaryami

Amin Gol Maryami now lives in Cologne, Germany. After the MEK was transferred to Albania, he left the group and took refuge in Germany. Previously, he had spent his childhood in this city in the team houses of the MEK along with other children of Mujahed parents, until he was 13 years old when the organization smuggled him to Iraq to recruit him in its army.
Amin is a successful citizen today; he is married and has a child. He lives in his beautiful house on the outskirts of the city. His father was killed in the MEK operations, his mother is in the MEK’s camp in the village of Manz in Albania. After the publication of his life story in Germany’s De Zeit magazine, he was accused of collaborating with the Iranian government in an article attributed to his mother, published by the MEK websites.

Mohammad Reza Torabi

Mohammad Reza Torabi also lives in Cologne, Germany. After leaving the MEK Organization, he was in Albania for some time and then he moved to Germany. Once he was settled in Germany, Mohammad Reza got married and had a child. His revelations about the MEK have received many positive feedbacks on social networks. His articles about his bitter experiences in the Cult of Rajavi are reposted many times by users.
Only after he left the organization did he find out that his father had been killed under the torture of the MEK commanders. His mother, Zahra Seraj, is still a captive of the MEK, and she has also accused Mohammad Reza of being a mercenary for the Islamic Republic in the contents attributed to her.
Mohammad Reza Torabi has always emphasized his opposition to the Iranian government in his posts. He even avoids communicating with his uncles in Iran. They are members of Nejat Society- an Iranian non-governmental organization consisting of former members and the families of current members of the MEK.

Amir Vafa Yaghmai

Amir Vafa Yaghmai is the son of Ismail Vafa Yaghmai, a former member of the MEK. Amir lives in Sweden and has wife and two children. Yaghmai is the first child soldier who started to speak out 6 years ago and for the first time he spoke in detail about the violation of the rights of children in the MEK, on Mihan TV. Later, in support of Amin Gol Maryami, he launched a campaign of former child soldiers, and now he is actively talking about the suffering of the children of the MEK on his social media accounts. Along with Atefeh Sabdani, Parvin Hosseinnia and Hanif Bali, he is one of the four young people who were the subjects of Sara Moin in the documentary Children of Camp Ashraf.
Although Amir Yaghmai and his father clearly express their opposition to the Iranian government, Afshin Alavi refers to an article on the Nejat Society’s website to prove Amir Yaghmai’s connection with the Iranian government, which is an interview with Amir’s uncle, Abul Qasem Yaghmai, who he was worried about the fate of his brother and his nephew who were members of the MEK at the time, trying to express his voice to them through Nejat Society.

The ripple effect moves on

Interestingly, the Le Monde report emphasized that despite the accusations that the MEK has brought against these three former child soldiers and even despite the benefits that may be there for the Iranian government due to revelations of the child soldiers about the crimes of the group leaders, these three young men are determined to continue to reveal the truth about their experience in the MEK.
Sharing the link of the Le Monde report on his X account, Amin Gol Maryami wrote: “Why should we be silent? Why should we hide ourselves, while they are introducing us as agents of the Iranian regime? We have the right to tell the stories of our lives.”
The army of child soldiers who are open to speech reaches tens of people, according to Golshiri. The audience of the free media has become familiar with the names a few of them. Considering that the number of the trafficked children of the MEK was over a thousand, this army has the capacity to mount to several hundred people. About 500 of these children are still under the control of the organization and their names are used when writing letters against the former child soldiers who criticize the group.

By Mazda Parsi

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