Dr. Noor Ali Tabandeh, also known by his spiritual title ‘Majzoub Ali Shah’ the spiritual leader of the Gonabadi Sufi Order in Iran, passed away on 24 December 2019 in Mehr Hospital of Tehran, following 2 years of being held under house arrest. Dr. Tabandeh was held under inhumane conditions, with severe mental and physical torture inflicted upon him by the Iranian regime, without access to proper medical care, and strictly controlled contact with the outside world.
The last two years of Dr. Tabandeh’s life was completely controlled by the Iranian Regime, to the point where multiple disturbing video clips of Dr. Tabandeh were being released, each time unveiling the extent of the horrific tortures he was subjected to.
In a video statement, Dr. Tabandeh mentioned ‘they are after my life, and they want to kill me’.
Following this, a few months ago, it was announced by a General Practitioner that Dr. Tabandeh is being poisoned slowly. As a supporting evidence, in a video statement, Dr. Tabandeh stated clearly “they (the regime) give me poison, but expect me to consume it, and pretend that it is honey”.
Another time, Dr. Tabandeh explicitly stated, “I don’t know what they put in my medication but they constantly make me drowsy and fall unconscious.” Also, in another video, Dr. Tabandeh stated, “I want to talk (to my followers), but I can’t, because they give me medication which makes me fall asleep”.
Two years ago, immediately after the house arrest of Dr. Tabandeh started, a video clip was released in which he clearly explains that the doctors have examined him and announced that he does not suffer from any illnesses and that he will live a long and healthy life. It is clear from this that any incident of sudden deterioration of his health and his subsequent death is out of the ordinary, and a direct result of the cruel treatment of Dr. Tabandeh during his two years under house arrest.
The constant suppression of Gonabadi Sufis in Iran over the last 40 years, and the increasing severity in the crackdown on Sufis in the last two years, including the cruel house arrest of Dr. Tabandeh has led to the deterioration of his health in recent weeks. He spent the last few weeks under Intensive Care Unit in Mehr hospital in Tehran, due to severity of his condition, before passing away.
Dr Tabandeh’s body according to reports has been taken for burial to his hometown of Beydokht, in Khorasan province of Iran.
The spiritual leader of over 8 million Gonabadi Sufis in Iran, was placed under a house arrest on February of 2018, during which time the Iranian Regime’s severe crackdown on Gonabadi Sufis resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of an unprecedented number of Sufis, and the subsequent killing of Sufis such as Mohammad Raji and Mohammad Salas.
After the ongoing suppression of Gonabadi Sufis for over 40 years since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in February 2018, the Iranian regime threatened to prosecute Dr. Tabandeh and eradicate Sufism from Iran, in what the regime described as the ethnic cleansing of Gonabadi Sufis. As a result, many Sufis gathered to peacefully protest this plan by the Iranian Regime and attempted to protect their leader’s house.
Dr. Tabandeh who was a lawyer and Judge prior to becoming the spiritual leader of Gonabadi Sufis, was a strong advocate for human rights, and was imprisoned by the current Iranian regime for protesting the undemocratic actions of the regime.
During his time as the spiritual leader of the Gonabadi Sufis, the Iranian regime consistently put him and his followers under immense pressure, by destroying their houses of worship, repressing, and arresting many of his followers.
Gonabadi Sufis who number in millions, have consistently resisted the extreme interpretation of Islam by the Iranian Regime, and advocate for the separation of state and religion. Gonabadi Sufis have been on the frontline to create social harmony and peace amongst all sections of society and respect for human rights of each person regardless of faith, gender or race. Because of these beliefs, which are opposed by the Iranian regime’s extreme ideology, the Sufis have been heavily oppressed.