Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Terror group intimidates ex-members: prosecutors: U.S.

Terror group intimidates ex-members: prosecutors:
U.S.Justice documents unsealed in courtNational PostWednesday, October 4, 2006Page: A18Section: NewsByline:
*Stewart* *Bell*Dateline:
TORONTOSource: National PostTORONTO - A "cult-like" terrorist group that wants to overthrow theIranian government has been using intimidation and threats to silenceits former members, U.S. prosecutors are claiming.The tactics the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) allegedly uses againstdisenchanted former members were described in documents unsealed by aNew York court handling the case of a suspected leader of the group.The U.S. Justice Department allegations are consistent with the findingsof human rights investigators who say the MEK subjects would-be"defectors" to psychological abuse, imprisonment, torture and death.Last week, the National Post revealed in an exclusive five-part seriesthat a Toronto man who spent five years at the MEK's base camp in Iraqwas locked in a metal shipping container for three weeks after he askedto leave.Before he returned to Canada in 2004, the man, Mohammad Mohammady, wasthreatened by a commander who cautioned him not to speak about hisexperiences with the MEK, he said. His sister, Somayeh, remains at thecamp. Her family believes she is afraid to leave.The Toronto siblings were among several underage youths from Canada thatthe MEK sent to Camp Ashraf, a paramilitary base north of Baghdad, tooverthrow the Iranian government by force, the Post revealed.The MEK's political and lobby arm, the National Council of Resistance,posted a lengthy statement on its Web site last Friday claiming theallegations reported by the newspaper were "sheer lies."But the documents unsealed by the U.S. District Court in Brooklynbolster claims the MEK has been mistreating those who have tried toleave the terror group since it was disarmed by U.S. forces in 2003.The MEK "has sought in the past to intimidate and threaten ...former MEK members who they believe were disloyal or have since turnedto be government witnesses," a federal prosecutor said.The allegations surfaced in the case of a 51-year-old woman charged withterrorism offences last Friday. Zeinab Taleb-Jedi, a U.S.citizen, was arrested in March after returning to New York from CampAshraf.The FBI claims she was a member of an MEK leadership council called theShohra Rahbari, which was responsible for approving specific terroristattacks.The Canadian Security Intelligence Service says the MEK stormed theIranian embassy in Ottawa in 1992 and has an active support network inCanada. At least two MEK leaders have been arrested in Canada, MahnazSamadi and Robab Farahi-Mahdavieh."The MEK has established an effective propaganda unit, which attempts tolegitimize the MEK's efforts in international eyes," a CSIS report says."This unit's main function is to establish the MEK as the alternative tothe current Iranian regime and in so doing gain both adherents andWestern political and financial support."CSIS says the MEK also uses propaganda to create a "cult-like"atmosphere among adherents, but while "a significant force" amongIranian exiles, it has little support within Iran itself because itfought alongside Saddam's forces during the Iran-Iraq war.The Canadian government outlawed the MEK under the Anti-terrorism Actlast year, calling it a terror group based on Marxist principles thatwas allied with Saddam Hussein and the Taliban.

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