Detention and Lack of Information about the Situation of Five Gonabadi Dervishes in Tehran and Karaj – Execution of Ten-Year Prison Sentences for Three Other Detained Dervishes

Continuing the violation of the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in Iran, three Gonabadi dervishes were detained on April 11, 2021, and two others were detained by the security forces of the Islamic Republic on the same day. Additionally, the ten-year prison sentences for three other dervishes have been executed after confirmation by the Supreme Court.

According to reports from human rights sources in Iran, Zahra Entesari and Maryam Moradi were arrested at their home in western Tehran on Monday, April 11, 2021. On the same day, Hamid Faraji, one of the virtual activists of Gonabadi dervishes, was arrested at his workplace in a bookstore in central Tehran.

Furthermore, on Friday, April 15, 2021, two other Gonabadi dervishes, Sarang Bani Bayat and Vahid Chehrehsaz, were detained in Karaj.

The main reason for the detention of these five individuals has not yet been announced, but according to reports, the homes of these Gonabadi dervishes have been searched, and satellite equipment, books, documents, computers, and some items have been confiscated.

In another report regarding the violation of the rights of dervishes in Iran, the ten-year prison sentences for three other dervishes were confirmed in the appeals court. On Saturday, April 17, 2021, all three were transferred from the detention center of the Revolutionary Guard to Evin Prison.

The convicted individuals, Mohammad Gholami, Mohammad Yousefi, and Daniel Arjmand, were arrested in February 2020 on charges of “membership in deviant sects” and “actions against national security.” They were held in temporary detention for months and then their sentences were confirmed after the stages of investigation and trial.

In recent years, Gonabadi dervishes have faced unprecedented attacks by security forces in plainclothes, harassment, discrimination, detention, exile, closure of businesses, destruction of cemeteries and worship places, expulsion from workplaces, and severe restrictions.

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