The Supreme Court upheld a sentence against seven Gonabadi Sufi dervishes in Fars on January 28.

According to the Light Enchanted Website, which is affiliated with the Gonabadi Order of dervishes, the trial followed a September 2011 clash between members of the clergy and a group of dervishes, during which a young dervish was shot and killed. Clerics had organized a demonstration against the dervishes and their religious practice in the city of Kavar. When violence broke out, authorities arrested dozens of dervishes. There were no reports of arrests among Shia clerics or their supporters.

Shiraz’s Revolutionary Court charged the men — Kazem Dehqan, Hamidreza Arayesh, Mohammad-ali Shamshirzan, Mohammad-ali Dehqan, Mohammad-ali Sadeqi, Mohsen Esmaili and Ebrahim Bahrami — with “causing war and corruption on earth.” Authorities handed down sentences of permanent exile to Kazem Dehqan, Hamidreza Arayesh, and Mohammad-ali Shamshirzan. They also charged them with membership to an illegal organization, organizing illegal protests and colluding to undermine national security. The court ruled that Mohammad-ali Dehqan, Mohammad-ali Sadeqi, Mohsen Esmaili and Ebrahim Bahrami would face seven years in exile. The trial took place in the city of Kavar.

Their sentences were upheld on appeal.

This is the second time that a court has deemed the Gonabadi Order to be illegal.

Forty dervishes had lodged a petition against the clerics for organizing the protest in 2011, accusing them of distributing pamphlets and CDs promoting hatred of the Gonabadi order, but the Special Clerical Court reportedly ignored the complaint.

Authorities have also failed to investigate the death of Vahid Banaee, who was killed by police in Kavar, despite appeals from his family. 


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