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Ashraf 3 camp, MEK base in Albania

In the Tirana’s countryside, MEK has constructed a vast compound called Ashraf-3 where men and women lead segregated existences.
The gates to the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) compound called Ashraf-3, situated on a gently inclined hillside in rural Albania, are usually firmly closed, guarded by two sculpted lions atop stone pedestals and a large team of Albanian security guards. Unannounced visitors are not welcome at the fenced-off, secretive site, where more than 2,000 MEK members live, marks Shaun Walker.

The former members of the group who managed to escape the group in Albania describe the life inside Ashraf-3 as a cult-like atmosphere in which mobile phones and contact with relatives were banned, all interactions between men and women were prohibited, and days were spent sitting at computers firing out tweets and other online messages in support of the MEK.

Each evening, the men had to gather in small groups with their commanders for “ideological training” as well as a confessional about any sexual thoughts they might have had that day.

“Three times per week, many of them apparently practice slitting throats, breaking hands, jabbing out eyeballs with fingers and performing the so-called Glasgow Smile, which involves cutting cheeks from the corner of the mouth up toward the ear. That, at least, is the story told by a former member of the group.
The camp, roughly the size of 50 football fields and surrounded by high fences, is located just a 35-minute drive from the lively bars of downtown Tirana, but the people inside live in something of a time capsule.” writes Luisa Hommerich of DER SPIEGEL.