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Open Letter to Prime Minister Edi Rama – Secure the lives of all current and former MEK members

Massoud and Anne Khodabandeh, former members of the Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) cult, sent an open letter to Edi Rama, Prime Minister of Albania, to show their concerns of an imminent terrorist atrocity that would take place in Albania.
Edi Rama, Prime Minister of Albania | CEEC-China 2018

Here is the full transcript of the letter:

Dear Prime Minister Rama,

This letter is being sent to you by Massoud and Anne Khodabandeh. We are two British citizens living in Leeds, UK. We are both former members of the Mojahedin Khalq (MEK) cult, who now work as deradicalization experts. We follow with great concern the issue of terrorism and radicalisation in Europe, with particular attention to the MEK. We are sending this open letter because of our concerns of an imminent terrorist atrocity that would take place in Albania.

The MEK cult/organization, which your government has hosted in Albania since 2013, is running a campaign to convince the people of Albania that they have distanced from their terrorist past. Efforts to paint a softer image for the group include: taking young people to the Villepinte rally in France in June; inviting Albanian youth to a meeting titled ‘Against Execution’ (and only mentioning Iran, not Saudi Arabia and America and China as examples); contacting members of parliament and party officials to convince them that their terrorist history is not true and has been made up by Iran to demonize the group. This is particularly ridiculous, and any politician or official who believes this in spite of all the evidence to the contrary is being deliberately stupid.

If MEK have changed, why don’t they open up their camp in Manez and allow free access to their secretive camp and their members? Why are they living in paramilitary conditions, with uniforms and gender segregation like in a military garrison? The films of retired German politicians and recruited journalists visiting the camp which were designed to show MEK as ‘ordinary folk’ inadvertently exposed and boasted of these conditions. Why don’t they integrate with the local Albanian community and instead insist having their own city in Albania, their own healthcare and bakery, etc.?

More importantly, since MEK members are working, why don’t they have work permits and pay taxes as Albanian citizens must do? What are they contributing to Albania?

Albanians are waking up to the reality of having a terrorist cult in their midst. The overt behaviour which alarmed citizens of Tirana from 2013 to 2017 has now been hidden behind closed doors. But this does not make the problem go away. Indeed, it makes the group more dangerous since there is no public scrutiny.

The scandal of the Mohammadi family is still fresh in everyone’s minds. What kind of ‘revolutionary’ is the daughter of Mostafa and Mahbubeh Mohammadi, Somayeh who is apparently too afraid to tell her mother face to face not to contact her again. As you already might know, MEK did not allow her any freedom in the matter and she is still subject to constant surveillance and monitoring, she is chaperoned everywhere.

Mostafa and Mahbubeh Mohammadi

As you are aware, MEK are very vocal that they perceive their group to be the target for death and annihilation from Iran. They claim that agents of Iran’s intelligence services are around every corner and even pose as journalists! That is clearly a matter for Albania’s security and intelligence agencies. The MEK must not be allowed to take the law into their own hands.

However, on a political level it has become clear now that relocating the MEK in Albania and then not de-radicalizing the individuals has attracted the threat of political violence to Albania. No matter which side your government takes – and let us be clear, Albania cannot have good relations with the government of Iran whilst harbouring a terrorist group which is actively working for regime change against Iran, a side must be chosen – the individual members of MEK must be protected.

Your government must take very seriously any threat to the lives of individual MEK members. At this time there is credible evidence of an imminent threat from the MEK leader Maryam Rajavi against members of her own group. Events over the past year – as outlined in this article, and this – indicate that a fatal false flag operation is being planned to advance the agenda of those who wish to destroy the JCPOA and cause a rift in Europe’s relations with Iran. Since the previous alleged plots did not achieve this aim, more drastic action is called for. Experts on the MEK are of the opinion that MEK is planning to kill some of its members, or former members, in Albania, which would then be blamed on Iran. Albania, situated outside the EU and with ongoing problems with crime and corruption, is ideally placed as a scapegoat for violent activity.

The MEK has a long history of setting up scenarios which are used by Iran’s enemies. This latest series of alleged plots in Europe fits into that profile. Your government should not underestimate the capabilities of MEK for such acts. The group’s modus operandi is based on self-sacrifice for the struggle. Over the years, Maryam Rajavi (and her missing husband Massoud) have used the blood of martyrs to keep the group going. The radicalized MEK members who believe in jihad and war are motivated to continue the same path of struggle of these martyrs. Bloodshed also enables MEK to eliminate unwanted members.

The case of Malik Sharai is an example of this activity. Sharai was planning to leave MEK, but as witness to the controversial September 2013 massacre at Camp Ashraf in Iraq, MEK leaders could not allow him to speak publicly about those events.

Malik Sharai

Your government allowed MEK to evade proper investigation into that death, just as they barred Iraqi investigators from doing their job in Iraq. Malik Sharai was buried without a post mortem examination to establish the cause of death. MEK claimed there were cultural/religious reasons why the Coroner could not do his job. This is not true. No conditions exist that would prevent a full post mortem examination. MEK have thereby flouted Albanian law and regulations to prevent proper investigation into how Sharai died.

The case of Sharai is mentioned because this example must alert you to the danger that MEK members face from their own leader.

What can your government do to stop MEK from committing a terrorist act against their members?

Firstly, MEK must be brought under control. The rule of ALBANIAN law must apply to MEK as it must to every other citizen of Albania. The camp at Manez must be opened up so that proper scrutiny and regulation of MEK’s activities can be conducted by the relevant authorities; Albanian police, tax officers, healthcare providers, anti-slavery activists etc must have full access to MEK and its members. People like Somayeh Mohammadi must be set free to choose their fate.

New MEK terrorist training camp 'Ashraf Three', Albania

No matter from where the threat to life originates, every individual MEK member needs protection. To qualify for state protection, MEK members must be issued with identity and residency documents. They should not be left without work permits – a fact that forces many of them to remain radicalized inside MEK.

Security must come from the neutral state not from a private firm in the pay of the MEK. Police must have a presence inside the camp to impose law and order.

Although MEK state that the estranged families of MEK members want to come to Albania to kill them, we know from fifteen years’ experience that the opposite is true and that people whose families are actively campaigning to contact them have not come to harm and have often been able to leave MEK and return to normal life. Your government should issue visas to these families, so they can visit their loved ones in Albania.

Former MEK members petition the UNHCR in Albania

Finally, we urge you to increase the vigilance of Albanian security services around the MEK members in Albania, including former members. We have strong indications that a false flag operation against MEK might be planned in your country by a foreign government, which will use this incident against the European Union and its relations with Iran. In order to avoid this, your government must do its utmost to save the lives of MEK members from their leadership, which as in the past, is willing to kill some of its members for its survival agenda.  A terrorist act against MEK members by a foreign country on Albanian soil will be a major incident and an embarrassment for your government and the European governments which do not want to see something like this take place in your country.

Please, make sure that the MEK leadership does not lose its mind and commit horrific acts in your country. Enforce the law and impose the authority of your government over the MEK cult and reassure the European public that Albania is a responsible country.

Your reply to this letter will be that you ensure the safety and security of all members and former members of MEK in Albania.

 

Yours Sincerely,

Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh

Massoud and Anne Khodabandeh

Massoud Khodabandeh is the Director of Middle East Strategy Consultants and has worked long-term with the authorities in Iraq to bring about a peaceful solution to the impasse at Camp Liberty and help rescue other victims of the Mojahedin-e Khalq cult. Khodabandeh co-authored the book 'The Life of Camp Ashraf - Victims of Many Masters' with his wife Anne Singleton.

Anne Khodabandeh, is an expert in anti-terrorist activities and a long-standing activist in the field of deradicalization of extremists. She has written several articles and books on this subject, along with her husband, who is of Iranian origin.