4 years and 4 months imprisonment
Blogger and Sufi activist; Member of Mehdi Karroubi’s 2009 campaign team; Reporter for Majzooban-e Noor news site, a Sufi order
Insulting the Supreme Leader
Nouri served a sentence at Evin Prison, where he has gone on repeated hunger strikes to protest against prison conditions for dervishes.
Kasra Nouri has been arrested several times in connection with his work on the website Majzooban-e Noor, which reports on matters relating to Iran's Gonabadi Sufi dervishes.
During the protests that began on December 28th 2017, Nouri spoke to IranWire about what he witnessed at Tehran University on December 30th, hours before his arrest. Security forces arrested four other Gonabadi dervishes at the same time. A day after the arrest, the five prisoners went on hunger strike.
Authorities had arrested him just a few days before this last arrest, on December 24th, following a rally near the university that raised awareness about insufficient pensions for some retired people. Nouri said authorities attempted to confiscate his mobile phone and when he refused to hand it over, they violently attacked him.
In the run-up to the 2009 presidential election, the site supported Mehdi Karroubi, a reformist candidate. Nouri was first arrested on January 11th 2012, after Intelligence Ministry agents in plainclothes raided his home in Shiraz and took him to an unknown location without a warrant. He was detained for a month and a half, 30 days of which were spent in solitary confinement at the Intelligence Office, known as Number 100. He was released on bail, but just two weeks later, on March 15th 2012, he was re-arrested after he spoke to foreign news outlets about the mistreatment of Sufis, including Radio Farda, the Persian service of Radio Free Europe.
His trial was held at Branch 3 of Shiraz’s Revolutionary Court presided over by Judge Rashidi, who sentenced him to four years and four months in prison and a year’s suspended sentence. The appeals court upheld the verdict and he was incarcerated at Adel Abad Prison in Shiraz. According to an Amnesty International report, Nouri and six other prisoners of conscience “were held initially at Adel Abad Prison in Shiraz, then moved to Section 350 of Evin Prison, where they remained until they were placed in solitary confinement in the prison’s Section 209, controlled by the Ministry of Intelligence, in January 2013.”
They were returned to Section 350 three months later, after Nouri and another prisoner, Saleh Moradi, went on hunger strike. Whilst he was at Adel Abad Prison, the guards raided Nouri’s cell block and forcefully shaved off the beards and mustaches of Sufi prisoners. The dervishes were then transferred to solitary confinement. For many Sufi orders, shaving off facial hair is a great insult. When Nouri and four other dervishes refused, they were beaten, their heads were shaven and they were transferred to another cellblock. For several days afterward, the inmates were not allowed to phone their families. Since then, Nouri has gone on hunger strikes to protest against the plight of dervishes held in solitary confinement. At one point, he refused to eat for 90 days, during which he was beaten and pressured to end the strike. He refused until those in solitary confinement were returned to the general ward. On the 70th day of his hunger strike, he fell unconscious and was taken to the prison’s hospital. Nouri went on a second hunger strike on March 1st 2014, to protest against the neglect shown towards three ill dervishes held in Cell Block 350.
When news about his hunger strike and strikes by other prisoners was published, more than 2,000 Gonabadi dervishes gathered in front of Tehran’s prosecutor’s office to show their solidarity. The authorities responded by transferring the three ill dervishes to a general hospital. Nouri ended his hunger strike 15 days later. Before his first arrest, Nouri studied civil engineering at Shiraz University. While serving his sentence at Evin Prison, he continued to study law. He then went on to study for a Master's Degree in human rights, which he was doing at the time of the 2017 arrest.