According to the Center for Human Rights in Iran, the Sufi Muslims are viewed as a threat to mainstream Shia Islam in the country, and its religious establishment frowns upon conversions. For centuries, however, Iran has allowed other major religions, such as Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism to exist in the country.

Maryam Farsiabi, a Sufi woman, and her husband, Mohammad Karimaii, were arrested during the protest gathering of Gonabadi dervishes in Tehran, along with hundreds of other dervishes. At the time of arrest, she suffered broken arms, and a displaced jaw and spine.

Farsiabi was tried by branch 15 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court and sentenced to six months in prison and a two-year ban from traveling abroad. Karimaii, her husband, has been sentenced to seven years of imprisonment by Tehran’s Revolutionary Court.

In June, a raid was carried out on Sufi women imprisoned in Varamin’s Qarchak Prison by the prison’s Special Guards. The women were brutally beaten and attacked with batons and electric shockers. The prison officers then detained each of the women in solitary confinement. It has been reported that some of them are in severe condition.

Farsiabi and five other women dervishes went on a hunger strike for 16 days into protest the brutal treatment.

Two other Sufi women, Elham Ahmadi and Sedigheh Safabakht, were each sentenced to five years in prison in late July. Ahmadi has been banned from leaving the country or having any social activities for two years. Another Sufi woman, Safa Bakhsh, is banned from membership in any social or political party or group, as well as any social media activity.

Sepideh Moradi and Shokoufeh Yadollahi, have refused to appear in court. They are protesting the denial of lawyers to all dervishes during legal proceedings, and several other rights.

Sima Entesari, also confined in Varamin’s Qarchak Prison, sent out an open letter on Wednesday, July 25th, 2018, passing over her revision court in protest to the unfair decrees handed out for her fellow Sufi women and men. Entesari was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment by Tehran’s Revolutionary Court on July 3rd, 2018.

The committee following up on cases of the imprisoned Sufis published a list of 324 detained dervishes, but claim that the actual number may be much higher.