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Court orders German daily to retract lies against PMOI/MEK members in Ashraf 3, Albania

Ashraf 3, the headquarters of PMOI/MEK in Albania
Ashraf 3, the headquarters of PMOI/MEK in Albania

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, June 26, 2020—A court in the city of Hamburg, Germany, has ordered the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) to immediately remove three false allegations raised against the Iranian opposition People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in a May 13 article, “The Devil Should Be Living in Tirana.” This is a reference to Ashraf 3, the complex that is home to around 3,000 MEK members located near Tirana, the capital of Albania.

The allegations mentioned, including “torture” and a “ban on visiting relatives” imposed on MEK members in Ashraf 3 are all completely false. “Even if these claims were stated as alleged, it is not evident that its principles were adhered to,” the court ruling reads.

The Hamburg court order follows the lawsuit filed by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) against a series of slanderous and defamatory allegations published by FAZ against the PMOI/MEK and its members residing in Ashraf 3, Albania. FAZ has been demanded to remove the false allegations posted in its online version and warned not to repeat them.

The lawsuit contested three false allegations published by FAZ:

  1. “The defectors, humiliated as agents, report of torture and persecution within the Organization.”
  2. “Members are forbidden from contacting their relatives and possessing mobile phones.”
  3. “With the help of the United Nations, the United States, and Saudi Arabia, the MEK flew to this Muslim country [Albania] in western Balkans by 2016.”

 

The FAZ is also ordered to pay a fine of up to €250,000 to be determined by the court for each case of the offenses against MEK members in Albania.  If this amount cannot be secured, a detention order for up to a maximum of six months (for each item in place of the maximum fine of 250,000 Euros, for a total of a maximum of two years) will be issued.

FAZ must also bear the cost of these court hearings, according to the decision.

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Following the publication of this FAZ.net article, the NCRI’s German Representative Office approached the paper’s editorial board and presented documents debunking those allegations in writing. However, the paper decided to only remove the three blatant errors and chose to keep the abovementioned allegations against MEK members in Ashraf 3. In response, the NCRI went forward to file an official complaint against FAZ with the relevant authorities.

It is worth noting that on March 21 of 2019, the Hamburg court issued an injunction, ordering the German magazine Der Spiegel to remove two similar defamatory allegations in its 16 February 2019 issue against the MEK and its members in Albania, and not to repeat them.

According to the March 2019 decision, similar to the recent FAZ case, Der Spiegel was threatened with a maximum fine of €250,000 or up to six months’ imprisonment for each violation. Der Spiegel removed the relevant segments from the magazine’s PDF version on its German and English websites, accordingly.

This once again proves the long-standing reality that the Iranian regime has nothing but lies against the MEK, as seen in the past four decades. The MEK has also through the years been able to come out victorious in 20 court cases checkered across the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States, debunking the claims brewed by the mullahs’ regime and parroted by their lobbyists and pro-appeasement voices across the West.