Arriving in Iraq, we went to a hotel to rest for some time. After having the lunch and at about 4 pm, I asked about their gym. I wanted to exercise. They said the gym is downstairs and we should go there. I went there and what I saw was a ping-pong table and a table soccer… I became angry and said that is this the gym you were talking about? Where are the exercising tools? I’m a bodybuilder not a ping-pong player.
I’m Hessam Shakeri Sabzevari, born in 1980 I was an athlete and I wanted to go on with my exercises, so I left Tehran in 2003 and went to turkey. I started working there. I was a coach there in a club. After a month and a half, I became acquainted with an organization the members of which came repeatedly to me and said that I could continue my exercises and get good money. They also said that they would send me to Europe. They even told me that I could stay there for 3 days and then I could decide whether to stay or leave. They asked me to visit their gym and their work. They told me that they would provide best exercising and entertaining club. I was struggling with myself. They said I’d be given a political status since my name will be added to their political list. Then, they said, you’d be able to go anywhere in the world because you’re political case. Exercising was everything for me and I wanted to achieve my goals, so I accepted to go there and check the situation. I said that if it’s ok, I would return. They accepted my condition. Then they said that their base is in Iraq and we should go there. We moved. Arriving in Iraq, we went to a hotel to rest for some time. After having the lunch and at about 4 pm, I asked about their gym. I wanted to exercise. They said the gym is downstairs and we should go there. I went there and what I saw was a ping-pong table and a table soccer… I became angry and said that is this the gym you were talking about? Where are the exercising tools? I’m a bodybuilder not a ping-pong player. When they saw my anger and learned that I’ve found that they’d lied, they said that “here’s hotel. We have nothing here for you. You should come to the army base. There, you can go and see everything.” I said ok. I thought they may be right. But I was gradually finding that there’s a hanky-panky. We stayed there for the rest of the day and the next day we started moving towards Camp Ashraf. As we became closer to the camp I saw Iraqi soldiers and tanks everywhere. We reached the gate of the camp. There were armed soldiers at the gate. Oh my God! What’s this? It was a bad time. Where was I going to enter? Was I making a mistake?... I could do nothing. I couldn’t say a word since the people who were taking us were Iraqis. They introduced us to a person called Idin. He asked our names and said that he would take us to the entrance and then to reception and then other sections. I thought that I would ask about the gym later on. In the afternoon I asked Idin to show me the gym. He guided me to the place but I saw the same things again: ping-pong table and table soccer… then I became really angry and started shouting and insulting. He said: “what’s happened?” “Who do you think I am? A kid?” I answered. “You deceive me ha? You should have told me from the beginning where the fuck you wanna take me to. Why did you lie to me? Why are you getting on my nerves? Why do you take me away from my normal life?” They said that they had told me that there’s no place for exercising, wife and life. I said I don’t want wife and life; I only wanted exercising. But they said I couldn’t leave. I didn’t want to stay. He said you have passed a one-way road and there’s no return! It goes only forward. For about 12 days I was struggling. They said I should sign some papers to go inside the organization. I refused. They said I would have to go to their organization at the end. They also said that they would send me to Abu Ghraib prison for 2 years. There, after being tortured, I would be exchanged and would be sent to Iran. “In the case of returning to Iran, Intelligence Ministry will kill you since you have been here with us. And we will announce your name as a traitor and agent of Iranian intelligence ministry,” they said. I was frightened because I had done nothing and now I was being labeled and terrorist. I didn’t know what to do. From bad and worse, I had to choose the bad. I said to myself that I will go forward so that I may find a way to escape. I accepted to sign the papers. They completed the documents and sent me to reception. There, I found that living is really hard. I had to wake up at 5 in the morning. They discussed political issues. They spoke about revolution, history and …. I was really tired so I said that I can’t stay here. This time they took me to a room where 4 men (Reza Moradi, Saeed Naghash, Saeed Khodayee Sefat) started insulting me. Reza Moradi put his rifle on my head and said he would kill me if I move. “Does your family where you are?” I said no. “Who knows that you’re here?” I said no one. “So, we kill you and put your body in the septic tank and no one will find it! If you want this, then we’re ready!” I decided to side with them until a day when I can find a solution. Then the invasion to Iraq took place. I saw that even then it was not possible to escape since Iraq was not safe at all. War was everywhere. It wasn’t clear whether one can survive. After a while, US forces came to the camp and said that everyone who wants can leave now. In MKO’s camp I couldn’t eat because my diet was different. There, they added salt in the foods and I got blood pressure. When I protested and said that I have blood pressure, they said they don’t care. I said my diet is different. For eight months they gave me potato and tomato. My weight had come down from 125 to 85. I had to eat yogurt and date and bread. But the bread was also full of salt. But I had no way. Once they held a meeting for me and said that I should not exercise. After the US invasion to Iraq, when the arms of the organization had been submitted to the US, they told me that I could exercise but at very normal level. Our food was again tomato and potato. I was not well so I showed myself to a doctor. He said that I have blood pressure and malnutrition. This was the gift of Mojahedin to me. Americans came and said that those who want to leave can go now. I came out and lived a year with Americans and now I have returned to my country Iran. In order to watch the film of interview, please <1>click here<1>. In order to read the “MKO and Human Smuggling” <2>click here<2> please

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