24 Members of the European Parliament published a Public Appeal condemning the massive repression of the Gonabadi Dervishes and their spiritual leader Mr Noorali Tabandeh in Iran on 7th of March 2018.

The appeal explains the current situation of the Gonabadi Dervishes:

On February 19, the Iranian authorities attacked the Gonabadi Sufi protesters in Tehran during their peaceful protest against the detention of one of their members, Nematollah Riahi, 72. Mr Riahi had come to Tehran to help protect the leader of the Gonabadi Sufi Order, Dr. Noor Ali Tabandeh and his home that had been besieged by the Iranian authorities on February 5, 2018. So far, at least 300 arrests have been made, and many more Dervishes are currently imprisoned that have not been officially recorded with no information on the well-being or whereabouts of the detainees for more than a week. There are reports of torture at Evin, Fashafouyeh, and Gharchak prisons, and persecutions and intimidation, invasion of residential houses in the 7th Area of Golestan in Pasdaran Avenue and occasions of public torture of the Sufis on the streets of Tehran.

And continues to add that the renown path of Sufi Dervishes centralized around peace, love and coexistence is considered a threat to the current regime of Iran:

There are numerous alarming reports that Iranian authorities are systematically persecuting the Dervishes in Iran. In March 2017, the UN special rapporteur for Iran expressed concern over the state targeting of members of Sufi groups, saying they “continue to face arbitrary arrest, harassment, and detention and are often accused of national security crimes.” The leader of the Gonabadi Dervishes Dr. Noor Ali Tabandeh, 90, and his followers have received death threats and live in fear of violence.  It is ironic that several million Dervishes, of which the Gonabadi order is the most numerous, representing the centuries-long tradition of peaceful meditation and mystical practices, are now considered as potential threat to the existing regime.

The Members of the European Parliament, appeal to Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to immediately address this issue with the Iranian authorities and call for full respect of human rights and prisoners’ rights, for the right of freedom of religion and belief, the right for freedom of assembly, the right for freedom of thought as set out in international conventions.

The MEPs further call on Hassan Rohani, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Sardar Rahimi, Chief of police in Tehran to immediately halt this systematic violence, imprisonments and intimidation against all Sufis in Iran, and more specifically the Gonabadi Sufi Order followers and sympathisers and demand the immediate release of detainees who have been imprisoned because of their beliefs.

The list of the Members of the European Parliament are as follows:

Tunne Kelam, MEP, EPP Group

Lars Adaktusson, MEP, EPP Group

Petras Auštrevičius, MEP, ALDE Group

Heinz K. Becker, MEP, EPP Group

Franc Bogovič, MEP, EPP Group

Michal Boni, MEP, EPP Group

Mark Demesmaeker, MEP, ECR Group

Gérard Deprez, MEP, ALDE Group

José Inácio Faria, MEP, EPP Group

Luke Ming Flanagan, MEP, GUE-NGL Group

Ana Maria Gomes, MEP, S&D Group

Maria Grapini, MEP, S&D Group

Gunnar Hökmark, MEP, EPP Group

Anthea McIntyre, MEP, ECR Group

Lukas Mandl, MEP, EPP Group

Ramona Manescu, MEP, EPP Group

Marijana Petir, MEP, EPP Group

Jozo Radoš, MEP, ALDE Group

Petri Sarvamaa, MEP, EPP Group

Branislav Škripek, MEP, ECR Group

Jaromir Štětina, MEP, EPP Group

Bodil Valero, MEP, The Greens/EFA

Jan Zahradil, MEP, ECR Group

Milan Zver, MEP, EPP Group

To read the entire letter on European Parliaments website please go to the following link: http://www.eppgroup.eu/news/Public-Appeal-

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