Iran: Five-year sentences for Christians accused of having “deviant beliefs” upheld
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Iranian authorities have upheld the five-year prison sentences handed to each of three Christians convicted of “engaging in propaganda” and sharing “deviant beliefs contrary to Holy Sharia law” through practicing their faith at a house church, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports.
The convictions and sentences were upheld despite a decree issued by Iran’s High Council for Human Rights last week that no one can be prosecuted for holding a particular belief or belonging to a particular group.
Ahmad Sarparast, Morteza Mashoodkari, and Ayoob Poor-Rezazadeh were arrested at 10 pm during a house-church prayer meeting in September 2021, ICC reports. They were taken away, charged, and convicted before being released on bail pending appeal.
However, even before the hearing of their appeal, the three Christians were rearrested and were subjected to what ICC described as a “private inquisition” – an investigation by Islamic law officials that is technically prohibited under Iranian law.
In a statement to ICC about the case, the Christians’ lawyer said: “No attention was paid to the defense, or to the fact that these clients, with no criminal records and young families, were re-arrested before the outcome of their appeal, without committing a crime, and are currently being held in solitary confinement.”
According to ICC: “Private inquisitions like this are commonly undertaken against Christians in Iran, despite the fact that such investigations of a person’s beliefs are prohibited in the Iranian constitution.” Iran ranks nine on the US Open Doors World Watch List 2022 of top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.
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