An Iranian opposition leader’s website is raising the alarm about the health of a female member of Iran’s Gonabadi dervish minority who was arrested in Tehran in a violent clash with police in February.
The Saham News site of Mehdi Karroubi, who has been under house arrest for years, published the report about the detained woman, Shokoufeh Yadollahi, on Monday. It said she is in a poor physical condition after having suffered fractures to her ribs and skull in the February 20 clash.
The report also said Iranian security personnel have prevented Yadollahi from obtaining appropriate medical treatment during her detention at Qarchak prison, east of Tehran.
London-based human rights group Amnesty International issued a statement on March 29 appealing for global support for Yadollahi and 10 other Gonabadi dervish women whom it said have been ill-treated and arbitrarily detained since the Tehran incident. It called for the 11 women to be released immediately.
Iranian officials said five members of the country’s security forces were killed and more than 300 people arrested during the clashes between police and Gonabadi dervishes, also known as Sufis.
The Sufi protesters had been demanding the release of arrested members of their community and the removal of security checkpoints around the house of their 90-year-old leader, Noor Ali Tabandeh.
In Iran, the group is subject to continued scrutiny and harassment because the government views them as heretics.
This report was produced in collaboration with VOA’s Persian Service.