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Meeting an official in the Albanian Ministry of Internal Affairs

An official in the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Tirana meeting with Sahar Family Foundation spoke about the situation of the families of members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) and the former members of the group. He said that currently there are around 240 separated MEK members living outside the organization in Tirana. They are known persons and are in contact with the Ministry and the Police. Since their number is growing rapidly there is growing concern in the current Albanian administration what to do with them.

He said that Albania had been very much against the MEK being transferred from Iraq to Albania as the government was aware that no other country would accept them. At that time, the US administration gave guarantees that their presence in Albania would not cause any problems or difficulties whatsoever. However, it seems that there is now trouble on the way.

This official stated that the MEK has prepared a facility outside Tirana with high walls and strong gates and has urged government officials seven or eight times to move all the members there. This has been rejected. The organization must understand that the situation it imposed on members in Iraq cannot be restored in this country and indeed international observers are quite worried about the internal relations of the group and are eager to learn more about this.

The official emphasized that so far, 15 letters from the families who traveled to Albania to visit their loved ones inside the organization have been delivered to them. But in all these cases the MEK replied that the individuals do not wish to receive the letters. This matter of course raises some concern about what is going on inside the group.

He said that the authorities know the group has adopted a hostile attitude towards the families trying to visit their loved ones inside the group and he has read reports by the police in this regard. He mentioned that the MEK leaders appear to be trying to establish a government-like system, similar to what they practiced in Iraq, which is not acceptable.

The official expressed his hope that the MEK would arrange appointments for the members to visit with their families. He also stated that it was possible that the organization would move to the newly prepared facilities within months, but under conditions that the government has outlined. Their unnatural presence inside the city has raised some trepidation amongst the citizens.

About those former members who tried to leave the country illegally and are now held in custody in neighboring countries such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, he expressed his regret and said that unfortunately it is very difficult to help them since they have committed offenses.

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