Abbas Dehghan, a member of Iran’s Gonabadi Dervish religious minority, was released after spending almost five years behind bars.
Photos sent to IranWire show Dehghan's relatives and a large group of Gonabadi dervishes, who are Sufi Muslims, welcoming him after his release from Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.
Dehghan is a co-founder of Majzooban Noor, a website that covers news about Gonabadi Sufis.
He was arrested along with more than 300 others in February 2018 following violent clashes between dervishes and security forces in Tehran.
Dehghan was interrogated and tortured for 70 days while in custody and suffered a stroke.
The man was initially sentenced to 11 years and six months in prison and 74 lashes. The sentence was later reduced to six years and three months.
On February 19, 2018, Gonabadi dervishes gathered outside a police station in Tehran to protest the arrest of a member of their community.
Tehran police said three police officers and two members of the paramilitary Basij force were killed in the violence and that dozens of dervishes were injured.
Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam, is not illegal in Iran but rights groups accuse the government of harassment and discrimination against its followers. Sufism is not inherited and Sufis do not proselytize.
Gonabadi Sufis say they believe in peace, security and equality and shun violence and politics. Gonabadi dervishes follow Shia commandments including praying five times a day and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.