Many of our friends who are here now were in MKO’s prisons during 1991. MKO kept part of members in its own prisons and sent part of them to the prisons of Al-Ramadi. When the MKO got that defectors and dissidents can find an open window in Al-Ramadi, it put Abu Ghraib in its agenda.
Ali Ghashghavi: first of all, I think it’s necessary to give you a brief explanation about the purpose of this conference. After a report on MKO’s human rights violations was published by Human Rights Watch organization- which had a wide reflection in the world’s media- we decided to hold a press conference about it. Why did we hold it at this time? Because we, and each and every one who has participated in this conference, were imprisoned, tortured and submitted to Iraqi prisons by Mojahedin-e Khalq. In this regard, we decided to gather here to answer the claims of Mojahedin (that the witnesses in HRW report are fictitious and that no one had been tortured, imprisoned or sent to Abu Ghraib by Mojahedin). In fact, we are live witnesses who hold this conference to answer such claims and we tell world reporters that we are here, we are alive and we are ready to follow this case wherever needed, although we know that HRW’s report was a small part of whole reality. Now I want the friends here, who have been in Abu Ghraib, to talk about their experiences in MKO and Iraqi prisons. I ask Mr. Sobhani to talk about his experiences.
Mohammed Hussein Sobhani:
I really thank Mr. Ghashghavi and our friends and guests. What I would say in this conference would be about two issues. First, I would discuss my own situation in MKO’s prisons; Second, I would answer this claim of Mojahedin that they didn’t have any prisons and that they didn’t send their prisoners to the prisons of Saddam Hussein. This claim has come from Maryam Rajavi on May 18. I would try to deny Maryam Rajavi’s claims by citing MKO’s own documents and publications. First of all, I should say that the issue of imprisoning members didn’t start with Abu Ghraib. Long time before that, even at the time of the existence of Al-Ramadi Prison, MKO had prisons. Many of our friends who are here now were in MKO’s prisons during 1991. MKO kept part of members in its own prisons and sent part of them to the prisons of Al-Ramadi. When the MKO got that defectors and dissidents can find an open window in Al-Ramadi, it put Abu Ghraib in its agenda.
After 8 years and half solitary confinement, I was delivered to Saddam’s regime in January 2000. I spent 35 days in the prison of Iraqi intelligence and security service in Baghdad and then I was taken to Abu Ghraib. I was there for about 1 and half year. After I was extradited and I came to Europe, I released an announcement in 2002 and revealed the names of 88 former MKO members who were in Abu Ghraib prison. After this announcement was reflected in the media, including BBC, MKO took position under the name of “NCRI’s security and anti-terrorism commission” and published its stance in Mojahed Journal (June 21, 2002). The position of Mojahedin towards revelations about Abu Ghraib and dealing on former members is notable.
I want you to pay attention to the points of MKO’s announcement which show that human rights are not observed in this organization. I read you the announcement of NCRI: “there’s no doubt that if it was not for the order of resistance leadership (namely Massoud and Maryam Rajavi), Mojahedin, like other revolutionary movements, had punished this and other mercenaries for their crimes.” Thus, the sentence is clear. Although they have tried to hide their main will, it can be understood from the sentence that they had killed “these mercenaries” if they had not received political orders.
To justify sending defectors and dissidents to Abu Ghraib, they say:
“When the enemy could escape from Al-Ramadi and could be sent abroad by Mullahs, there was no other way” (At that time, some of our friends in Al-Ramadi could go abroad by the assistance of political movements like Fedayeen-e Khalq. In fact, they had thwarted MKO’s plan which was to send members to Al-Ramadi to stay there forever). So, Mojahedin has no responsibility towards those who leave Mojahedin; those who can’t bear the situation of border region, terrorist attacks and bombardment. It means that those people should solve their own problems with the host country. MKO kept members for a long time in its own prisons and then submitted them to Abu Ghraib. Then, MKO published the names of some people it had never talked about and said that these people are mercenaries. The question from MKO and Maryam Rajavi is that, “is it possible for an organization – with 3437 members, according to current statistics- to have about 300 spies and mercenaries, in only two past years??”
MKO says it has not prison. All friends here, including me, were in MKO’s prisons for sometime and suffered solitary confinement. Believe it or not, Mojahedin imprisoned members for long time in solitary confinements. Here, we don’t want to discuss why it used solitary confinement. It is related to organizational reasons. Since they didn’t want others to know he’s in prison, to break his will and prevent him from leaving the group.
I was a member of MKO’s central committee in 1991. My name, as deputy of executive body of the organization, was published in Mojahed Journal (the fall of 1991) and its documents are available.
In response to my comments and my testimonies in HRW Report, Mojahedin has claimed that I was not imprisoned. I want you to pay attention to a document published by the organization itself in Mojahed Journal No. 599. I read it for you: “Regarding violating my pledges toward the organization and revolution and repeated violations, I, Mohammed Hussein Sobhani, deserve execution.” This is of course my handwriting which itself proves that Mojahedin had imprisoned me since the August of 1992.“If the Organization doesn’t execute me by any reasons, regarding my knowledge of MKO’s secrets- which can damage the organization and its members and may be misused by regime- this is the minimum right of the organization to keep me in detention and prison until the regime is toppled. Mohammed Hussein Sobhani (August 28, 1992)”.
It means that the organization has accepted, by this document, that I was imprisoned since the August 1992 due to leaving the so-called struggle. But during 8 years of imprisonment they never let me call my daughter or write to her. They didn’t let me meet my wife. Mojahedin now claims that my wife, Afsaneh Taherian, is the member of MKO’s leadership council. I ask MKO, Human Rights Watch and all human rights groups “Why don’t they let me and my daughter talk to Afsaneh Taherian?”. This is the photo of my daughter when I was in Iraq and my photo with my wife and daughter. The last time I saw my daughter she was 4 or 5. After that I couldn’t see her, hear from her or write to her until I came to Europe and I could finally find my daughter after 12 years. When we met, we couldn’t identify each other. We knew each other by the color of clothes that we had talked about in telephone calls.
Mojahedin has claimed that there’s no violation of human rights in the organization; I read again something from MKO’s publication to prove opposite of that claim. This is from Mojahed No. 599, a letter from Mr. Jaberzadeh: “You (meaning Massoud Rajavi) are well aware that if you had not ordered we would have torn him apart or at least would have wasted a bullet for him according to our pledges and according to the rules of the army… he was lucky that he was not in the hands of members who have prepared themselves in the deserts of Iraq to topple the regime…”
This is not what I say. This is what has been published in MKO’s own publication, Mojahed journal, No. 599 (July 22, 2002), which shows that there’s rule in NLA that authorizes killing by bullet or tearing apart.
I finish my words here and I thank all my friends and those who took part in this conference and I wish you success.
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