'MKO members deprived of basic rights'

A former member of the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) who has defected says MKO members are deprived of basic human rights at their Camp Ashraf base in Iraq.


Maryam Sanjabi told Press TV on Tuesday that MKO members have no freedom and are not allowed to decide whether to stay with the organization or leave it.

She said, “According to the organization's regulations, members must follow orders and have no rights to ask any questions or make any comments,” she explained, adding, “Inside Ashraf, there is no access to the free world. Members are not allowed to read newspapers, use the internet or telephone, or meet their families.”

Sanjabi recently defected from the MKO and surrendered herself to Iraqi forces. She says that anyone who wants to defect from the group faces the death penalty. On April 8, a number of people were killed in clashes between Iraqi security forces and MKO members residing at Camp Ashraf, which is located in Diyala province.

The Iraqi army initially said that three people had been killed and 27 wounded, among them 13 members of the security forces. AFP reported that ten people had been killed and over 40 injured. A source at Baqouba's main hospital confirmed they had received three bodies.

However, the MKO claimed that 31 of its members had been killed and 300 were injured. But Iraqi forces say there is evidence that some of the MKO members who died in the incident were killed by MKO members themselves.

On April 11, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the cabinet was determined to shut the camp down. The MKO fled to Iraq in the 1980s, where it enjoyed the support of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and set up Camp Ashraf in the eastern province of Diyala, near the Iranian border.

Over 3,000 MKO members are currently residing at the camp. In addition, the group sends elements to Iran on spying and terrorist missions.

The MKO also cooperated with Saddam in the massacres of Iraqi Kurds and in suppressing the 1991 uprisings in southern Iraq. Since Saddam was deposed in 2003, the Iraqi government has set numerous deadlines for the terrorist group to leave the country but the MKO has managed to maintain its base due to US backing.

The MKO is listed as a terrorist organization by much of the international community and has committed numerous terrorist acts against both Iranians and Iraqis. Iran has repeatedly called on the Iraqi government to expel the group, but the US has been putting pressure on the Iraqi government to block the expulsion.