Reports reveal that ten MEK members have died of COVID-19 in Albania since the first week of November. This indicates an outbreak of the coronavirus in Camp Ashraf 3. In 2016, as they were given refuge on humanitarian grounds, the Albanian government gave assurances that the MEK would receive full medical care. Since then, the MEK leaders have imprisoned the members in the closed camp and do not allow Albanian authorities to enter.
From the start of the pandemic, the MEK have refused to allow local health officials into the camp to help; there are no licenced medical staff in the camp. It is unclear how the virus was introduced into the camp, but leading members have used their Laissez-passer documents to move around Albania without hindrance, crossing road blocks with impunity.
This week two of the MEK’s Albanian lawyers failed to attend court in a libel case against Behzad Saffari, brought by journalist Gjergji Thanasi, saying they have contracted COVID-19.
This could be coincidental, but it has also been reported that the defendant Behzad Safari has also gone missing and has not been seen recently. Whether the virus could have been transmitted either way, from lawyers to the camp or the camp to the lawyers, it is clear from the number of deaths in Camp Ashraf 3 that there are many others suffering the illness.