26 March 2013
Your Excellency Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran
As addressed in previous reports, a number of Dervishes are currently in prison in Iran merely for expressing their religious beliefs. In September 2011, four lawyers, namely Mustafa Daneshju, Farshid Yadollahi, Omid Behruzi and Amir Eslami, who had power of attorney over a number of Dervishes alongside three other Dervishes, Afshin Karampoor Hamidreza Moradi Sarvestani and Reza Entesari, have been arrested and imprisoned.
Subsequently, a trial was organized for these people. To show their objection to their illegal arrest, they have refused to present themselves in the court. This has caused the imposition of further punishment by the relevant authorities. Therefore, they have been transferred to solitary confinement since 15 January 2013, when strict conditions have been imposed on them.
Owing to the fact that authorities have not paid attention to their requests, two Dervishes, Salehedin Moradi and Kasra Noori, who have been arrested previously and were in prison, have gone on hunger strike since 16 January 2013 in solidarity with their imprisoned lawyers. Because the judicial authorities continue to ignore their requests, they have gone on a dry hunger strike since 21 March 2013 and now are in dire physical condition.
To object the ignorance of prison authorities and the judges, Alireza Rooshan and Mostafa Abdi, two Gonabadi Dervishes, have also started their hunger strike since 21 March and it is expected that others will join them in this initiative in the coming days.
Dervishes are all Muslims and followers of Shia Islam whose organisation dates back to several centuries ago. After the Revolution of 1979, they have been subject to many illegal pressures including arrest, torture, intimidation and threat because of their beliefs. They have become disappointed to receive any form of justice and therefore they are forced to hunger strike, fearing that any moment may be a traumatic one.
Respected Special Rapporteur,
Unfortunately, the courts in Iran, especially the revolutionary courts have lost their independence and have effectively turned into a branch of the Ministry of intelligence. The responsibility for such a situation is rests directly with the Head of the Judiciary.
I would like to request for this letter to be registered in the dossier concerning the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and be considered during the preparation of reports and analysis on the current state of human rights in Iran.
Human Rights Advocate and Nobel Peace Prize 2003
cc: The office of Mr. Ban Ki Moon, The Honourable UN Secretary General; The office of Honourable Madam Navanethem Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; The Honourable UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief; The International Bar Association