|Iraq's Defense Ministry Spokesman General Mohammed al-Askari announced that members of the anti-Iran terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), even leaders and ranking members of the group, continue to run away from the terrorist group's main camp in Northern Iraq...|
"58 MKO members have managed to escape since the dissident members started fleeing Camp Ashraf to defect the group," Askari was quoted by the Habilian Association, an Iran-based human rights group, as saying in a press conference.
He said that most of the defected members were among the male or female leaders and commanders of the group who have taken refuge in places provided by Iraq's authorities.
Earlier, a defected member of the terrorist group unveiled that MKO ringleaders are using every means within their reach to control their dissident members, including life threats, to keep members in the group's main stronghold in Northern Iraq.
"Massoud Rajavi (the main ringleader of the MKO) has announced many times that if anybody wants to escape from (the camp) Ashraf (in Iraq), he/she will be killed or executed," Abdollatif Chahardari said in April.
He reiterated that the ringleaders of the MKO also prevent the members who are residing in Camp Ashraf from taking refuge in other countries, saying, "Ashraf is the only place you have."
Asked why MKO ringleaders force the dissident members to remain in the stronghold in Iraq, Chahardari said, "It is clear, if people leave (the camp), the Organization will collapse and there will be no MKO anymore."
Also in March, another defected member of the MKO revealed that the female members of the group have been living under captivity for more than 25 years and are not even allowed to appear in public places alone.
"It can be firmly said that 95% of the women in Ashraf Camp (the terrorist group's resort in Iraq) have not even been allowed to step in Iraq's public and recreational places alone all throughout the last 25 years," the defected member said.
The former member of the MKO also revealed that nearly 70% of the female members of the terrorist group are single and have not been allowed to marry anyone in or outside the group. And only a total 10% of the married members have been allowed to have children, he added.
The MKO has been in Iraq's Diyala province since the 1980s.
Iraqi security forces took control of the training base of the MKO at Camp Ashraf - about 60km (37 miles) north of Baghdad - in 2009 and detained dozens of the members of the terrorist group. The Iraqi authority also changed the name of the military center from Camp Ashraf to the Camp of New Iraq. Many of the MKO members abandoned the terrorist organization while most of those still remaining in the camp are said to be willing to quit but are under pressure and torture not to do so.
A May 2005 Human Rights Watch report accused the MKO of running prison camps in Iraq and committing human rights violations. According to the Human Rights Watch report, the outlawed group puts defectors under torture and jail terms.
Numerous articles and letters posted on the Internet by family members of MKO recruits confirm reports of the horrific abuse that the group inflicts on its own members and the alluring recruitment methods it uses.
The most shocking of such stories includes accounts given by former British MKO member Ann Singleton and Mustafa Mohammadi -- the father of an Iranian-Canadian girl who was drawn into the group during an MKO recruitment campaign in Canada. Mohammadi recounts his desperate efforts to contact his daughter, who disappeared several years ago - a result of what the MKO called a 'two-month tour' of Camp Ashraf for teenagers.
He also explains how the group forces the families of its recruits to take part in pro-MKO demonstrations in Western countries by threatening to kill their loved ones. Lacking a foothold in Iran, the terrorist group recruits ill-informed teens from Iranian immigrant communities in Western states and blocks their departure afterwards.
The MKO, whose main stronghold is in Iraq, is blacklisted by much of the international community, including the United States. Before an overture by the EU, the MKO was on the European Union's list of terrorist organizations subject to an EU-wide assets freeze. Yet, the MKO puppet leader, Maryam Rajavi, who has residency in France, regularly visited Brussels and despite the ban enjoyed full freedom in Europe.
The MKO is behind a slew of assassinations and bombings inside Iran, a number of EU parliamentarians said in a recent letter in which they slammed a British court decision to remove the MKO from the British terror list. The EU officials also added that the group has no public support within Iran because of their role in helping Saddam Hussein in the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-1988).
Iraq had announced earlier this month that members of the terrorist group must leave by the end of 2011.