Forty Days Later, Whereabouts of Imprisoned Dervish Amin Alizadeh Still Unknown

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – The family of Amin Alizadeh–a member of Iran’s Gonabadi Dervish religious minority who was arrested in Tehran on June 29th with fellow Dervish Jalal Mousavi–has now been in the dark about his whereabouts for 40 days.

Alizadeh and Mousavi were arrested amid the “Golestan Haftom” incident in February 2018. The incident, named after the street in Tehran on which it took place, broke out when a gathering of several hundred *Gonabadi Dervishes were violently confronted by Iranian police and plainclothes members of the Revolutionary Guard’s Basij faction outside the residence of their spiritual leader, Noor Ali Tabandeh.

The Dervish community had rallied outside Tabandeh’s residence to prevent his possible detainment, as he has reportedly been placed under extended house arrest by Iranian authorities.

Hundreds of Dervishes were beaten, wounded, and arrested during the Golestan Haftom incident. A similar attack occurred on January 24th after an intervention from security forces on the same street, heightening the sense of fear within the Dervish community.

After their arrests in June, Alizadeh and Mousavi were transferred to Ilam Prison in Iran’s Kurdish region, located over 400 miles west of Tehran. According to Ilam Prison authorities, Alizadeh was later transferred to Damavand Prison, closer to Tehran. Damavand judicial authorities, however, have not allowed any visits or contact between Alizadeh and his family.

Though Iranian judicial authorities estimate that around 300 people have been arrested in connection with Golestan Haftom, HRANA has thus far published the names of 324 arrestees and estimates that the actual number is considerably higher.

* There are various divisions among Dervishes in Iran. In this report, the term “Dervish” refers to Nematollahi Gonabadis, who declare themselves as followers of Twelver Shi’ism, Iran’s official state religion.

Political Activist Sentenced to 13-Year Prison Term

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Ruhollah Ahura Hedayati, a citizen from the city of Shazand (western Iran), who was previously arrested in October of last year and released on bail after two months, was sentenced to a total of 13 years in prison after being charged with “Propaganda against the regime”, “Membership in groups aimed at undermining the security of the country”, “Blasphemy” and “Insulting religious beliefs and leadership.” Mr Hedayati was sentenced in the First Branch of the Shazand Revolutionary Court, presided by Hassan Hosseini. According to the ruling, in line with Article 134 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, only the most severe sentence should be served.

An informed source told HRANA that Mr Hedayati was charged with “Possession of two grams of a controlled substance”, which carried a cash fine of four million Rials (approximately $83 USD) and a sentence of fifty lashes.

According to the Court, the sentence was issued based on Mr Hedayati’s “clear” confession to attending the celebration of “Cyrus the Great Day” on October 28, 2016, in the city of Shiraz. According to the ruling, the evidence for Mr Hedayati’s presence at the celebration was based on videos and photos taken from the gathering at the tomb of Cyrus, a ruler of ancient Persia, and Mr. Hedayati’s own confessions to writing slogans on the walls and installations of a detention center and Intelligence office in Arak.