According to the news agencies, Bulgarian forces have taken the control of Camp Ashraf, 60 miles north of Baghdad, since a week ago. This camp houses nearly 2000 MKO remnants in Iraq who have been supervised by Americans after Iraq war. Last week, a former member of the MKO, Mohsen Abbaslou who has escaped from Iraq, took part in a press conference and talked about difficult situation of MKO remnants in Camp Ashraf and the violation of human rights by this organization.
In an interview with Radio Farda’s Ali Sajjadi, he referred to his membership in the MKO and said: "if a window is opened to the outside world, all MKO members would leave and 100 would barely remain."
MKO announced that Mr. Abbaslou has never been a member of the organization and that he had been expelled to the US-run camp (next to Camp Ashraf). State Department lists MKO as a FTO.
"Remaining members in MKO camp have no hope for future," Abbaslou says.
Ali Sajjadi (Radio Farda): First, I asked Mr. Abbaslou about the history of his cooperation with the Mojahedin-e Khalq organization.
Abbaslou: I was the supporter of MKO inside Iran for nearly 10 years until Afghanistan was freed by US-led coalition when the MKO pressed me to go to Iraq to continue my campaigns there; so, I went to Iraq in June 2002 and joined the MKO. Nearly ten months after the fall of Saddam Hussein, I was still in the organization. In January of 2004, after 45 days of hunger strike and being beaten by the MKO, they sent me to US-run Camp (TIPF) and on July 6th I and four of my friends escaped from US-run camp and Iraq to Europe.
Sajjadi: What about your differences with the MKO in Iraq?
Abbaslou: I joined the MKO with the goal of fighting dictatorship and achieving freedom, democracy and human rights. Unfortunately, since the first day I entered the organization, I understood that the organization was clearly much different from what it advertised. I witnessed violation of human rights on daily basis, politically, organizationally and individually. They forced us to do what we didn’t like. They forced members to divorce their spouses; we had no contact with our families and there was no access to free media and press; everything was under censorship. Most of the forces there had been taken to the camp by promises of a good job, life and.. These convinced me to leave the organization. Every week, I wrote requests for leaving and they always refused. Now, they have announced that "we expelled him from the organization after 5 months". This is not true. I was on hunger strike for 45 days. I didn’t eat for a week and after 45 days of hunger strike, beating me hard and a week of solitary confinement, they agreed to let me go.
Sajjadi: How’s the situation of MKO, particularly after Iraq war and the presence of coalition forces in Iraq?
Abbaslou: The presence of coalition forces in Iraq was a window and I really thank them. Nearly 600 members left the organization and joined the US-run camp; some others escape the MKO’s camp and went directly to Europe and I saw some of them here in Europe; others joined the US camp. But the violation of human rights continues despite the presence of coalition. I myself was beaten by MKO officials and people like Mashrouf Dianati and Behrooz Mohammed Khojini. That was ordered by Vajiheh Karbalayee and Mahnaz Shahnazi. After the coalition forces took control of Iraq, they beat my friends Faramarz and broke the teeth of Ali Dehghani. They thrashed a man called Atta in the middle of the camp and in front of other members. Another member, Mahmoud Moshtaghi was forced to set himself on fire because he was under pressure to divorce his wife; this still continues despite the presence of coalition forces in Iraq. Coalition forces are outside Camp Ashraf and have no control over the internal affairs. The problems of this cult continue and therefore human rights and freedom are violated.
Sajjadi: How many are there now in the camp?
Abbaslou: there must be nearly two thousand members or so in the camp of Mojahedin. When I was in US camp, there remained 250 out of 600 who had defected; others had gone to Iran or had to go to Iran.
Sajjadi: What do they do?
Abbaslou: Nothing. The situation is disappointing. The morale is low. They have to work for the MKO with no rewards. They have no hope for future but I want to tell them that we are pursuing their case here. We try to press human rights groups to find a way for our friends there. The situation is far better for those in US-run camp. They are free, they are in touch with their families and hereby I say to them that "don’t worry and keep your morale."
Sajjadi: You said the organization forced them to work without rewarding them?!
Abbaslou: According to the rules of the cult, the time of these members has been pre-planned for 24 hours of the day. From the time they wake up in the morning they have to work in farm, buildings, road making, kitchen, sanitary duties and;MKO officials try to make them tired so that they don’t think of other things.
Sajjadi: Mr. Abbaslou said that 100 members would reluctantly remain in Camp Ashraf if a window is opened to the outside world. After Mr. Abbaslou’s press conference in Paris, MKO released a statement claiming that Abbaslou has never been in the MKO and after 5 months of joining the MKO he had been deported to US-run camp in 2002. US State Department lists the MKO as a foreign terrorist organization.