A toxic supplement for Rohani

For nearly two years, seven dervishes of the Nematollahi Gonabadi Order were held in Evin prison without charge. All seven were arrested in connection with attacks by regime forces on Dervishes in Kavar (Sarvestan) in September 2011. The order of the Nematollahi Gonabadi Dervishes have been repeatedly confronted with attacks on their meeting houses and faced restrictions of their rights to exercise their prayer traditions since the last eight years. During the attacks in Kavar, the Dervish Vahid Banani was killed, others were injured and many were arrested.
After the website Majzooban Noor reported about the events in Kavar in September 2011, the journalists, editors and operators of the website were arrested. The accusation against the seven dervishes was propaganda against the regime and threat of the national security. They were held in solitary confinement without any contact to the outside world in order to force them to confessions. Only after a 3-month hunger strike of two other dervishes imprisoned for the same reasons in the Adel Abad prison in Shiraz, the authorities gave in and lifted the solitary confinement of the seven dervishes in Evin.
The case attracted international attention: Amnesty International, the German government and some members of the European Parliament campaigned for the hunger strikers. A situation that put pressure on the regime and forced them to gave in.
In this case, Judge Abdolghassem Salavati lived up to his reputation of faithful hardliner loyal to Khamenei and to his misanthropic ideology. First, he tried to bring the seven dervishes to court under illegal conditions. Not only, the Dervishes were denied the right to consult a lawyer, the lawyer who wanted to defend them was also thrown in prison. And now, Judge Salavati sentenced Hamid Reza Moradi Sarvestani (the website operator and human rights activist) to ten years and six months imprisonment. Reza Entesari (photo journalist and human rights activist), Mostafa Daneshjou, Farschid Yadollahi, Amir Eslami, Omid Behroozi and Afshin Karampour (lawyers, webmaster and human rights) must remain in custody between seven and a half and eight and a half years.
In addition, judge Salavati has banned them from membership of any political party, as well as any activity in the public media and in cyberspace for five years.
In an interview with the BBC, Dr. Azmayesh, religious scholar and human rights activist based in Paris stated that these judgments are a toxic supplement for the newly elected President Rohani. Rohani is said to have the intention to lead the country in a more moderate way and to end the many human rights violations against minorities. The court judgment against de dervishes is a signal to Rohani that the establishment of Khamenei confidants don’t allow pressure relief. The dervishes in Iran have to be prepared for further persecution. The regime will always accuse them of acting against national security or of spying for a foreign country. Human rights activists fear that attention for the case of the dervishes will be lost in the general dispute over Iran’s nuclear activities.


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