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Grandson of Outspoken Sunni Cleric Arrested

June 28, 2023
1 min read
Grandson of Outspoken Sunni Cleric Arrested

Security forces of the Islamic Republic have arrested the grandson of Molavi Abdolhamid amid mounting pressure on the outspoken Sunni cleric.

Haalvsh, which covers developments in the south-eastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan, said on June 27 that Abdolnasir Shahbakhsh was “violently” arrested on the street Zahedan, the provincial capital, and taken to an unknown location.

Previously, Shahbaksh was summoned by the Zahedan Intelligence Department for questioning.

According to Haalvsh, the security forces also detained Osameh Shahbakhsh, the videographer and photographer of Zehedan’s Grand Makki Mosque, where Molavi Abdolhamid delivers his Friday sermons critical to the Islamic Republic. Agents confiscated Shahbakhsh' laptop and other personal belongings. 

A 22-year-old individual identified as Hamed Mohammadinik, who was present at the scene of the arrest, was also taken into custody.

The arrests come three days after Abdolvahed Shahlibar, a member of the mosque’s personnel, was summoned to the prosecutor's office and subsequently arrested. His current location remains unknown.

Baluch activists believe the wave of arrests are linked to the news of an assassination attempt against Molavi Abdolhamid. 

On June 19, the Haalvsh website reported that an intelligence operation by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) had attempted the poisoning of the 75-year-old cleric. It said the plot was thwarted after the mosque’s security team arrested an individual assigned to carry out the killing.

Sistan and Baluchistan is home to Iran's Sunni Baluch minority of up to 2 million people. The provincial capital has seen protest rallies every Friday since September 30 of last year, when security forces killed nearly 100 people in the deadliest incident in the nationwide demonstrations sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody.

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