Iran Frees Nine Christian Converts


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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy

TEHRAN (Worthy News) – released nine converts from prison, including a pastor, after the Islamic nation’s said their involvement in house churches doesn’t threaten national , well-informed Christians told Worthy News Tuesday.

After freeing Pastor Matthias (Abdolreza Ali) Haghnejad from the of Iran denomination, authorities released eight other jailed converts on January 1, pending a review of their sentences, Christians said.

The pastor was freed on December 30 from Anzali Prison near Iran’s coastal city of Rasht, while the others were released two days later from Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, Worthy News learned.

Pastor Haghnejad and the other believers were detained in Rasht in January and February 2019, according to Christians familiar with the situation.

In October 2019, they were each sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for “acting against national security” due to their house church activities and abandoning , several sources confirmed.

The pastor was also accused of “promoting Zionist Christianity,“ trial observers said.

SUPREME LEADER

His sentence was upheld in February 2020 without a hearing after Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamanei, reportedly permitted the judge to bypass court procedures.

In November 2021, the Supreme Court in Tehran announced it would review the sentences delivered to Pastor Haghnejad and those convicted with him.

The Court concluded that participating in house churches could not be seen as “a crime against national security” as had been alleged by authorities in the Islamic nation, Christians said.

Unofficial house churches have been growing in Iran as Christianity is spreading in the country of 86-million despite a reported crackdown by the Islamic rulers.

Iranian church leaders suggest there may be at least nearly one million Christians from a background inside Iran.

In a request shared with Worthy News, Iranian Christians asked fellow believers to pray that “the review will lead to an acquittal.” They also hope that the “Supreme court’s decision will lead to the review of sentences handed down in other cases.”

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