Iran-Interlink is deeply concerned about reports that several members of the Iranian Mojahedin(*) organisation, led by Massoud Rajavi, have been imprisoned in Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq, and that many of these have been transferred to Iran in exchange for Iraqi prisoners of war..
The following information was issued in a statement in Farsi language by an ex-member of the Mojahedin, named Mohammad Hossein Sobhani, who is now living in Europe.
Mr Sobhani, who is known to Iran-Interlink, went to Iraq as a member of the Mojahedin-e Khalq in the early 1980s. He lived in Iraq and worked in the Mojahedin's Security department, and various other departments since that time. In 1992, Mr Sobhani expressed doubts about the strategy which the leader of the Mojahedin, Massoud Rajavi, was pursuing. He then underwent a long period of imprisonment at the Mojahedin's Ashraf camp, north of Baghdad. Three years ago, in 1999, Mr Sobhani tried to run away from the Mojahedin whilst he was in transit in Baghdad. After reaching the UN building in Baghdad, he was captured by the Iraqi authorities who then returned him to the Mojahedin. After a short time, Massoud Rajavi made the decision to hand Mr Sobhani over to the Iraqi authorities, on the understanding that he would be incarcerated in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. In January 2001, with the agreement of Massoud Rajavi, Mr Sobhani was then transferred to Iran with a number of other Iranian ex-Mojahedin members. Mr Sobhani claims that once inside Iran he managed to run away and make his way to Europe.
Mr Sobhani has stated that besides himself, there were up to fifty other ex-members of the Mojahedin in the Abu Ghraib prison, where they remain at present.
On May 1st 2002, the Mojahedin issued a statement in English, part of which concerns Mr Sobhani:
"As part of this campaign [to have the Mojahedin placed on the EU list of terrorist entities], several Intelligence Ministry agents who formerly worked with the Mojahedin have been sent to European countries to make propaganda against the Mojahedin and the Resistance. One of them is Mohammad-Hossein Sobhani, who ran away from a Mojahedin base in the Iran-Iraq border region three years ago, after it became known that he was an intelligence agent. He was arrested in Iraq and sent to Iran in a completely legal manner. The Intellingence Ministry sent him to Germany recently on an assignment to work with other Ministry agents in Europe. Sobhani has been instructed to pretend that he had escaped from the mullahs' prison and came to Germany from Iran in a clandestine manner."
In a letter of April 27, 2002, addressed to Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, the Mojahedin claimed that:
"Mohammad-Hossein Sobhani… has been assigned by the mullah's regime to make representations to different state and international agencies in Germany and pretend that he has fled from a Mojahedin prison in Iraq and come to Germany. The fact is that Sobhani fled the Mojahedin three years ago in July 1999, after he was discovered to be an agent of the mullah's regime. He was later arrested by the Iraqi authorities and sent to Iran in an official manner…"
These are all different accounts of what happened to Mr Sobhani in Iraq. In view of the seriousness of these allegations, Iran-Interlink requests that an urgent and impartial investigation take place to find out:
The Mojahedin have declared in their own publications that their members are handed over to the Iraqi authorities when they are 'discovered' to be agents of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry. Yet, so far, to our knowledge, no evidence has been provided and no trial has been held. Iran-Interlink is extremely concerned about this action and about the repatriation of ex-Mojahedin members to Iran when this will place them in extreme danger.
Iran-Interlink is concerned that Massoud Rajavi may be responsible for the gross violation of the human rights of these prisoners, and other individuals in the Mojahedin organisation, and we urge that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights be commissioned to investigate this situation without delay.
(*) Mojahedin-e Khalq, (MKO, MEK) also known as:
The People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI)
The National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA)
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCR or NCRI)
The Muslim Iranian Student's Society (MISS)
List of Mojahedin dissidents presently held in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq
|2||Ashraf Baz Sefidpar||Kermanshah|
|9||Hamid - known as Hamid Afghani||Tehran|
|10||Jamshid (father's name is Eskandar)||Tehran|
|11||Rassoul Mohammad Nejad||Oroumieh|
|13||Seyed Jalal Eskandari||Anzali|
|17||Ali Reza Zadeh||Tehran|
|19||Farhad Beshreh||Qasr Shirin|
|20||Mohsen Rassouli Zadeh||Mashad|
|27||Mostafa Qanimati Fard||Tehran|
|29||Namdar Hosseini||Sarpol Zahab|
There are also between ten and fifteen others in Abu Ghraib prison whose actual names and other details are not known. Another dissident, Bahram Khavajoui from Kermanshah, who attempted suicide by burning himself, has been sighted in the Mojahedin's internal prisons.
List of Mojahedin dissidents transferred by the Mojahedin and Iraqi authorities to Iran
Two more persons are not named above. Of this list, three or four were handed back to the Iraqis in Qasr Shirin either because they were not from the Mojahedin or they had an Iraqi mother or father.
These lists were compiled by Mohammad-Hossein Sobhani based on information available in January 2001.
Published in June 2002.