26.02. 2015 Call to the release of nine Gonabadi Dervishes in Iran


October 25, 2014

“ I am deeply concerned about the condition of nine imprisoned Dervishes who are members of the Nematollahi-Gonbadi-Order in Iran. A month ago, the Dervishes went into a hunger strike in response to the ongoing suppression of members of the Iranian-Muslim- Sufi- citizens (the Dervishes) in Iran. The dervishes only interrupted their hunger strike when some representatives of the regime made promises to look into the members legal cases. The ratification of the international pact, concerning civil and legal rights, obliges Iran to respect and protect the human rights of religious and political freedom. The suppression of religious groups is a blatant contradiction to this. I am asking Iran, to uphold its responsibilities and to respect the human rights of all, regardless of their religious or ethnic background and to immediately release all prisoners who are being held based on the grounds of their religious and political viewpoints.Iran has continously denied any responsibilty for the suppression of the Dervishes. Why does the minister of information blame Dervishes to be Satanists publicly then and why was there an exhibition opened by representatives of the state in Khorramabad depicting and describing the Gonabadi Dervishes as devils? Why has the parliament issued a law that bans "mystical groups" and "Satanists"?We protest against the blatant discrimination and this frame for future continuations of persecutions against groups that don't share the official believes.Furthermore I call for the Iranian authorities to release the nine Gonabadi Dervishes, immediately and unconditionally, and all other Gonabadi Dervishes to be allowed peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of believe and thought. "

Background information:

The situation of ethnic and religious minorities in Iran is alarming, while Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians, according to the Iranian constitution are recognised as religious minorities, and at least officially enjoy religious freedom, members of mystic Islamic orders as the Shia Nematolahi Gonabadi Order - they are named Sufis or Dervishes as well - are being discriminated against quite often or pushed forcefully not to practice their religion.

In September 2011 the security forces throughout the country heavily violated the rights of the Sufis, especially in Kavar. In the wake of these attacks against the Sufis several members of the Nematollahi Gonabadi Order and their website Majzoobane Noor and their lawyers have been imprisoned.

Recently nine Dervishes held a hunger strike for more than four weeks (31.08.-04.10.2014). By the hunger strike they protested against the wide spread prosecutions  of members of the Nematollah Gonabadi Order and against the dire prison conditions.

They are: Omid Behrouzi, Mostafa Daneshjou, Afshin Karampour, Farshid Yadollahi, Mostafa Abdi, Reza Entesari, Amir Eslami, Hamidreza Moradi Sarvestani and Kasra Nouri. One of the reasons that they started their hunger strike was a discriminatory remark of Mr Alavi, minister of security and information against the Dervishes in a public meeting with teachers.

They all were charged with propaganda against the regime and acting against national security after they had published the news about the heavy attacks by the security forces in Kavar and the death of one member of the local Dervishes (Vahid Banani).

These charges are quite common against the prisoners of conscience in  Iran who don’t fit into the ideological world of the system.