Noor Ali Tabandeh, Gonabadi Dervishes’ Spiritual Leader, Transferred to Hospital; Dervishes’ Hunger Strike Continues

Noor Ali Tabandeh, Gonabadi Dervishes’ Spiritual Leader, was transferred to Mehr Hospital after his condition deteriorated.

According to the Campaign for the Defense of Political and Civil Prisoners, on Tuesday, November 5th, 2019, Noor Ali Tabandeh, Gonabadi Dervishes’ Spiritual Leader that has been refusing to eat for the past few days, was taken to Mehr Hospital because of his health deterioration.

According to some sources: “The news indicates Mr. Tabandeh’s severe physical weakness after his refusal to eat.”

On Wednesday, November 6th, 2019, a number of Gonabadi dervishes have gathered at Mehr Hospital to track his health.

Earlier, after the news of Noor Ali Tabandeh refusal to eat after being discharged from hospital, a large number of Gonabadi dervishes went on hunger strike in prison

The Gonabadi dervishes have begun their hunger strike on Sunday, November 3rd, 2019. According to informed sources, the hunger strike continues.

Earlier, Alireza Roshan, a writer, poet and one of the Gonabadi dervishes, said: “Mr. Tabandeh is concerned about the situation of prisoners and he constantly hears the bad news of prison and he had hope that things may change, that Darwish prisoners will be released, but now there is no other way for Mr. Tabandeh except to sacrifices his body and soul. “

Mr. Tabandeh has been held in custody since the Golestan Haftom event and his supporters have not been able to meet him and many restrictions have been imposed on them since then by security agencies.

According to Gonabadi Dervishes, “Dervishes are not allowed to meet Mr. Tabandeh, and if someone was able to meet him, it was in a very tight security environment.”

The names of those who continue their hunger strike in prison are:

۱- Ahmad Iraniankhah, 2-Saeed Dorandish, 3-Morteza Kangarloo, 4- Saleheddin Moradi Sarvestani, 5-Kasra Nouri,  ۶-Sina Antesari, 7-Reza Antesari, 8-Mustafa Abdi, 9-Sekhavatt Salimi, 10, Rashoul Hovida, 11- Abbas Dehghan, 12-Javad Khamisabadi, 13-Mojtaba Biranvand, 14-Saeed Soltanpour, 15-Mohammadrreza Darvishi, 16-Heydar Teymouri, 17-Mohsen Moghadasi, 18–Faramarz Mangari, 19-Ahmad Barakohi, 20- Mahmood Brakohi, 21-Seyed Mostafa Mirmohammadi, 22- Farnam Farhang, 23-Akbar (Kianoush) Biranvand, 24- Seyyed Mahdi Fatemi-Nasib, 25-Hossein Arang, 26-Jafar Ahmadi, 27-Hadi Karimi, 28-Reza Yavari, 29-Alireza Lak, 30- Babak Moradi, 31- Ali Nejadsahabi, 32- Muslim Norouzi, 33- Akbar Dadashi, 34-Morteza Ghaderi, 35-Abdullah Esmaeili, 36-Mustafa Rahspar, 37-Mehdi Mahdavi, 38-Farhad Naimi, 39-Saleh Kamali, 40-Hossein Rasaghi, 41-Ardashir Ashaeri, 42-Milad Kakavand, 43- Mirsadegh Hosseini, 44-Behrooz Sadeghi, 45-Mehdi Izadpanah, 46-Saeed Goudarzi, 47-Majid Moradi, 48-Mehran Asgharzadeh, 49-Hadi Shahreza, 50-Vahid Khamoshi, 51-Saeed Khamushi, 52-Alireza Azadroush, 53-Mehradi Bakhtiari, 54-Mohammadhassan Shahreza, 55-Ehsanoladdin Malekmohammadi, 56-Babak Taghian, 57-Mehdi MehdiLu, 58-Bashir Riahi, 59-Majid Rashidi, 60-Reza Sigarchi, 61-Mehdi Kivanlu, 62-Sadegh Ghasari, 63 Mohamadhosein Abolfatti, 64- Behnood Pourrostami, 65-Reza Rezaei, 66-Saeed Kerri Mai, 67-Mohammad Karimai, 68-Mohammad Sharifi Moghaddam, 69-Amir Soleimani, 70-Shokouf Yadollahi, 71-Sima Antesari, 73-Sepideh Moradi Sarvestani

However, some supporters of Mr. Tabandeh outside the prison have also stated hunger strike in support of prisoners as well as the Dervishes.

The Gonabadi dervishes have launched a campaign saying that as long as their demands are not met, and their dervishes are on hunger strike in prison, they will refuse to eat. So far, at least 350 people are said to be on hunger strike outside the prison. (The campaign had released some of the names.)

In a statement, they urged Noor Ali Tabandeh to end his refusal to eat food and medicine, and insisted they would continue their hunger strike until the removal of the pressures and security restrictions that imposed on Mr. Tabandeh and reopening of their worship places.

In addition, several Gonabadi Dervishes’ rights activists have staged a tweetstorm in support of 72 inmates who are on hunger strike with the hashtag.

According to Dervishes Gonabadi, this Twitterstorm will begin at 7 pm Iran time on Wednesday, November 6th, 2019, to spread their voice to human rights groups.

Pressure on the Dervishes in Iran began mainly from the city of Qom. Qom is Iran’s most religious city, and due to the historical conflict between Sufis and Shari’a, the pressure on the Dervishes in this city has a long history dating back to many years before the revolution.  During the early years of 2000, the group was accused of being anti-Shiite, and slowly the hostile atmosphere formed against them. Tensions between government and Nematollahi’s Dervishes with the destruction of some of their religious sites and preventing them of their gathering, especially in Qom, entered a phase that led to a physical and bloody conflict in Tehran a decade later.

In recent years there have been numerous reports summoning, threats, arrests, and ultimately the trial and issuance of heavy sentences for Dervishes – especially the Gonabadi dynasty.

The latest event is related to Golestan Haftom incident, in which hundreds of dervishes were arrested, imprisoned, beaten and sentenced to prison, battering and exile.

A protest rally called Golestan Haftom was held on Monday, February 19th, 2018, in protest to the arrest of Nematollah Riahi, a Gonabadi dervish resident of Shahrekord who had been arrested by security forces in Tehran on February 18th, 2018.

The Gonabadi Dervish, a resident of Shahrekord, had come to Tehran to support the Dervishes during the Golestan Haftom event.

Since the events of the Golestan Haftom and security forces attack on them, many Gonabadi dervishes have been arrested and sentenced to prison, whipping or exile.

Some sources reported the number of detainees as high as 400, while many were severely beaten at the time of their arrest.

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