Hassan Shahbazi was a university student when he left Iran to visit his friend Hassan Heirani in Camp Ashraf, the headquarters of the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (the MKO/ MEK/ PMOI/ the Cult of Rajavi) in Iraq.
In Ashraf, he was welcome by the authorities of the MKO. “They intrigued our nationalistic sentiments…so I decided to stay there but what I endured during the past years is not easy to recount now,” he writes in his letter of declaration of separation from the MKO.
He was coerced to work as a forced labor. “Once I found myself in a discriminating system that claimed the classless society,” he asserts.
However he did not leave the MKO until the group was relocated in Tirana, Albania where the group members could have a very limited access to the outside world. “In the first days of our arrival in Albania, the organization let us visit the city in groups,” he writes. “I contacted my family and I learned that my family had come to Iraq to visit me but the group authorities had not let me know.”
Thus, the final stages of distrust started for Hassan Shahbaz. “The organization authorized itself to decide instead of us,” he suggests. “We were not allowed to contact our families. We had to hate our families.”
He eventually left the MKO secretly on April 3rd, the fourteenth day of the Iranian NewYear while the group had gone on a picnic. “Immediately I submitted to the office of UN High Commissioners of Refugees in Tirana,” he says. “I declare that I have had no relationship with the Mujahedin Khalq Organization since my departure from the group.”