Open Letter to the Government of Iraq
Dear President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki
We must congratulate your government on its sensitive and effective handling of the difficulties and obstacles presented by the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) cult over the past three months during the process of dismantling Camp Ashraf and removing the militants living there.
While western observers still wonder whether it is tactful or polite to describe this group as a dangerous, destructive cult, your government has shown a full understanding of the nature of this organisation and has acted accordingly. In this way I am sure you will avoid the ‘humanitarian disaster’ threatened by the MEK’s leaders as they are brought to submit to the rule of Iraqi and international law.
In spite of the totalitarian grip in which the group’s members are held inside Camp Ashraf, we know that many are desperate to escape the cult and win back their freedom. At least two hundred names have been recorded of those inside Camp Ashraf who reject membership of the group but who are prevented by MEK leaders from leaving. What they need is an alternative to turn to.
In this respect we urge your government to act quickly to restore an equivalent facility to that which operated while the American Army was protecting the camp. The temporary facility set up in 2003 enabled over 800 individuals to escape from the cult and reconnect with their families and the outside world. The precipitate closure of the US run camp in 2008 unfortunately removed this vital first point of escape for those remaining in Camp Ashraf.
A similar camp with signs visible from inside Camp Ashraf would offer a vital first point of physical escape from Camp Ashraf – an easily accessible first port of refuge.
Setting up a temporary camp for those who voluntarily leave the MEK will provide a place where the detoxification process, which is a vital step for cult members to recover from the cult’s brainwashing processes, can begin. Such a facility would also offer temporary refuge for those who escape the MEK from where they can reconnect with their families before their final destination is determined.
As you know, in February 2008 we established Sahar Family Foundation with the help of families of MEK victims and supported by well wishing Iraqis. Sahar was set up to help people who do not want to stay with the terrorist MEK cult. Since then, with the help of well wishers in western countries we have been able to help many escapees from Camp Ashraf; some have returned to their home country, others are now residing in European countries, the US and Canada and are working towards establishing themselves as normal citizens in these societies. We are more than happy to get involved and involve volunteer families and ex-cult members to work under the supervision of the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Human rights in this new facility.
We remain hopeful that, with the sensitive approach which your government has already shown, this sad situation will be resolved in as short a timescale as possible.