Name: Behnam Mahjoubi
Country/Area of Origin: Iran
Background: Mahjoubi is a member of the Sufi Gonabadi Dervish religious minority community in Iran
Reason for Arrest:
In April 2018, Mahjoubi was arrested for his participation in a protest that had taken place in February and was in condemnation of the Iranian government’s mistreatment of religious minorities. Mahjoubi was charged for “assembling and colluding to act against national security” and sentenced to two years of imprisonment.
Mahjoubi was summoned to fulfill his prison sentence in July of 2020 in spite of the fact that he suffers from a severe panic disorder that requires regular medication and despite that doctors found him physically unfit to serve his sentence to completion. While in prison, Iranian officials physically assaulted Mahjoubi and kept him in solitary confinement; moreover, they denied him his necessary medications. As a result of his mistreatment, Mahjoubi initiated a hunger strike that same month, and he was officially transferred to hospital in September of 2020 with deteriorating health. He was later transferred back to Evin Prison to continue his sentence.
- On 21 February 2021, it was confirmed that Mr. Behnam Mahjoubi passed away due to his mistreatment and lack of medical care in Iranian prison. It is confirmed that Mr. Mahjoubi, while in hospital earlier this month, had been administered pills that made him fall comatose. Jubilee Campaign offers our sincerest condolences to the family of the brave Mr. Mahjoubi, and we call for an immediate end to Iran’s practice of arbitrarily detaining and mistreating religious and political prisoners of conscience.
- See the below statements regarding the death of Mr. Mahjoubi:
- “Behnam Mahjoubi’s death is an abysmal violation of religious freedom by Iran’s government and a start reminder of its egregious and ongoing persecution of the country’s Gonabadi Sufi community. The United States and its allies must directly confront Iran about this mistreatment in any diplomatic interactions.” – USCIRF Chair Gayle Manchin
- “Iran is now trying to cover up its intent to murder peaceful religious activists through deliberate medical malpractice. The United States and international community cannot allow this outrageous treatment to stand. The United States should continue to sanction high level Iranian officials who murder religious minorities with impunity and accelerate the resettlement of Iranian religious minorities through the means Congress has provided in the Lautenberg Amendment.” – USCIRF Commissioner Gary Bauer
- “We urge Iran to undertake a full and transparent investigation into the death in custody of Behnam Mahjoubi. His death is another reminder of how adequate medical treatment is repeatedly denied to detainees. We call for immediate access to adequate care for all prisoners.” – UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights official Twitter account
- “Many prisoners in Iran are in desperate need of medical treatment and more will die without immediate care. Governments worldwide should condemn Iran’s practice of denying medical care to prisoners as the torture and effective extrajudicial murder of prisoners that it represents.” – Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director, Center for Human Rights in Iran