December 23, 2019
Tehran’s outspoken member of parliament Mahmoud Sadeqi has warned about the dangerous health condition of imprisoned dervishes who are on a hunger strike in Iran.
In a tweet on Friday, December 20, the city of Tehran’s MP Sadeqi insisted that the detained “dervishes’ lives were in danger” and urged the Islamic Republic’s head of the judiciary Ebrahim Raeesi (Raisi), to “seriously and immediately” look into the case.
Meanwhile, the wife of one of the detained dervishes told Radio Farda that at least four dervishes are in critical condition.
More than seventy imprisoned members of the Sufi Gonabadi Order began a hunger strike in early November to honor their 92-year-old ailing spiritual leader Nour-Ali Tabandeh, who has been hospitalized due to complications from his hunger strike.
Sixty-nine of the hunger strikers are in the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary (GTCP) in the city of Fashafouyeh, and three others are in Tehran’s Evin Prison, the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) says.
Based on recent reports, fourteen of the dervishes on hunger strike are in a grave condition, while four of them, Reza Entessari, Ahmad Irani, Morteza Kangarloo, and Mohammad Sharifi Moqaddam, have been transferred to a hospital in the city of Shahr-e Rey, south of Tehran, on December 18.
Speaking to Radio Farda, Sharifi Moqaddam’s wife, Faezeh Abdipour disclosed that hours later the four were taken back to the prison.
“While the four were in the hospital the area had turned into a police state, and the relatives of the dervishes were not allowed to visit their loved ones”, Ms. Abdipour told Radio Farda.
Furthermore, Ms. Abdipour said in a tweet that since last Wednesday, the four could not even drink water. Nevertheless, the security forces took them back to jail.
In the meantime, there are reports saying that another jailed dervish, Shahram Moqaddassi, is also in a grave condition in prison in the city of Boroujerd, in the province of Lorestan, western Iran.
More than 400 dervishes were detained and dozens hospitalized on February 19, 2018, at a street protest in Tehran after police indiscriminately opened fire into the crowd.
Dervishes had gathered there to protest pressures on their spiritual leader that practically amounted to house arrest.
The Islamic Republic’s clergy-dominated Twelver-Shia regime views any alternative belief system as a threat to its existence, although dervishes are a Shiite sect.
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution on December 18, calling on Iran to end its ongoing human rights violations.
The UNGA resolution expressed grave concern about persecution, arbitrary arrests, and incitement to hatred against religious minorities, including Christians, Gonabadi Dervishes, Jews, Sufi Muslims, Sunni Muslims, Yarsanis, Zoroastrians and members of the Baha’i faith.