DURRES / A couple of Canadian citizens, who are Iranian nationals, are asking the Albanian state to allow them, after 21 years, to meet with their daughter who, according to them, is in the Manza camp where the Mojahedin (MEK) are resident.
The couple arrived in Albania at the beginning of July, but after 20 days of trying, are still unable to meet with her. They say that she left the family, aged 17, without their knowledge and went to Iraq to join the MEK organisation. The daughter, called Somayeh Mohammadi, was born on September 8, 1980. She joined the Iranian Mojahedin MEK in 1997. They learned that their 38-year-old daughter is in Camp Ashraf 3 in Manza, where the Mojahedin are hosted in Albania. Her parents, Mostafa and Mahboubeh Mohammadi, claim that the girl is held in this camp against her will and want to meet her and take her home to Canada.
Mr Mostafa, why are you in Albania?
We are in Albania to find our daughter who left the family 21 years ago. We are a couple with Canadian citizenship, but with Iranian ethnicity. 21 years ago, aged 17, our daughter left Canada to join activists in Iraq to overthrow the regime [in Iran].
How did she leave Canada, with or without your knowledge?
Of course without our knowledge. We didn’t know anything about her leaving. When she arrived in the Middle East, she contacted us and told us that she was there for this purpose, to join the activists. We were very worried because we knew what was happening in Iraq in 1997, the country was at war.
When she left, who was waiting for her?
I don’t know what to say. After she arrived in the Middle East, we only spoke with her a little. She just told us she had left for this reason without any details, not about to whom she had departed, nor who was waiting for her. She was only 17 years old. She could be manipulated easily. Probably through online contacts.
Was that the last contact you had with your daughter after she arrived in the Middle East?
After she arrived in Iraq, she no longer contacted us. We had no opportunity to find her anymore. As I said, we were worried that the country was at war and as time passed, the days, months, years passed, we didn’t know what had happened to our daughter.
How long have you been in touch with your daughter?
About six years after the US took control of the camp [in 2003]. The US armed forces and authorities identified the people in the camp. We had lost hope that she was alive. Then, at one point we were informed by the Canadian authorities that our daughter was in this camp, which was under US supervision.
Do you think your daughter is in the Mojahedin camp in Manza?
Yes, yes, we are sure. We are confident because all the members of the camp, which was under the control of the US authorities, were transferred here to Albania and are now in Camp Ashraf 3 in Manza, where the Iranian Mojahedin refugees arrived in Albania from Iraq after they were originally taken to Iraq.
What is your daughter called and how old is she?
Her name is Somayeh Mohammadi, she was born on September 8, 1980. She joined the Iranian Mojahedin in 1997. The girl is being held at Camp Ashraf 3 in Manza against her will by these Mojahedin.
You said you were not in contact with your daughter for years, how do you know she is being held against her will?
She is being held against her will because the mission is accomplished. The regime has changed and this was her aim. Already she prefers to join her family in Canada, where her parents and two brothers are waiting.
You came to get your daughter and return to Canada?
Yes, that’s why I came, along with my wife. But not only can we not take her home, we can’t even meet with her. We came specifically from Canada to find our daughter because we discovered that she is in the Mojahedin camp in Durres (Manza). We have joined with Albanian and international institutions and we have not finished our task. We seek nothing but to meet with our daughter who we have not seen for 21 years. This meeting will only be possible if it takes place in the presence of the police or other authorities.