Christian Convert Shuresh Mohammadi Fallah Sentenced to One Year in Prison 

Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced Christian Convert Shuresh Mohammadi Fallah to one year in prison and a fine. On July 18, 2021, he was arrested by security forces and released on bail on November 3, 2021.  

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Christian convert Shuresh Mohammadi Fallah was sentenced to one year in prison and a five-million-tomans fine on the charge of “acting against national security through membership in Evangelical Christian home church.”

On July 18, 2021, IRGC Intelligence agents arrested and transferred Mohammadi Fallah to a detention facility in Tehran. He was held for 35 days in solitary confinement. Subsequently, he was indicted by Branch 3 of the Evin Prosecutor’s Office and after completing the interrogation process, he was sent to the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary.

On November 3, 2021, he was released temporarily on a 500 million tomans bail.

The persecution of Christian converts stands in blatant violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it openly or secretly.

 

 

Christian Convert Rahmat Rostamipour Arrested in Bandar Anzali

Last Monday, April 18, 2022, security forces arrested Christian Convert Rahmat Rostamipour at his house. The day after the arrest, his wife was also summoned and interrogated for a few hours.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Article 18 News Outlet, Christian Convert, Rahmat Rostamipour was arrested by security forces at his house in Bandar Anzali located in Gilan Province.

Reportedly, 12 agents raided his house at 8 a.m. which caused a convulsion in one of his children. This incident dissuaded the agent from arresting Mr Rostamipour’s wife. The agents also searched the house and confiscated some of their belongings including children’s tablets and books related to the Christian faith.

The charges against Mr Rostamipour are still unknown so far. However, during the interrogation of his wife, the agents mentioned the charges of “propaganda against the regime and forming an illegal home church”.

Rahmat Rostamipour is 49 years old and a father of two children.

The persecution of Christian converts stands in blatant violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it openly or secretly.

 

Christian Convert Naser Navard Goltappeh’s Request for Retrial Rejected

Branch 9 of the Supreme Court rejected the imprisoned Christian convert Naser Navard Goltappeh’s request for a retrial for the fourth time. He is currently serving a 10 year sentence in Evin Prison. Despite suffering from oral and dental diseases and severe visual impairment, he has been denied medical treatment in prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, his lawyer, Iman Soleymani, called the Supreme Court’s decisions arbitrary and erratic. He told HRANA that “the Supreme Court issued its verdict regardless of defendant’s rights, which is in violation of citizen rights and the principle of legality of crime and punishments, the principle of innocence and Article 474 of the Criminal Procedure Code whereby different punishment in degrees for similar charges is not allowed”.

“His request has invoked the recent retrial of nine Christian converts which subsequently led to their acquittal”, he added. In November of last year, Branch 28 of the Supreme Court of Iran announced that promoting Christianity and forming a home church is neither a crime nor an act against national security.

On June 24, 2016, Naser Navard Goltappeh was arrested along with three people of Azerbaijan nationality. All four were interrogated for two months and detained in solitary confinement cells. After four months, they were released on bail of 100 million tomans. The Azerbaijani citizens returned to their country after the release.

Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced Goltappeh to 10 years in prison on the charge of “acting against national security by organizing an illegal home church”. The verdict was upheld on appeal on November 12, 2017.

He is currently serving his sentence in Ward 8 of Evin Prison.

Despite the fact that Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Iranian law, security forces nevertheless harass and prosecute Muslims who convert to Christianity.

The prosecution of Christian converts stands in blatant violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it openly or secretly.

Two Christian Converts, Behnam Akhlaghi and Babak Hosseinzadeh, Summoned to Court for a New Legal Case

On Wednesday, February 9, 2022, two Christian converts, Behnam Akhlaghi and Babak Hosseinzadeh, were summoned by Branch 3 of Evin Prosecutor’s Office in regards to a new legal case opened against them.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists,  Akhlaghi and Hosseinzadeh were asked to appear at the court within 5 days.

On February 23, 2019, they were arrested during a home church gathering in Rasht City. Security forces searched Akhlaghi’s house and confiscated some of his personal belongings. According to an informed source, during the search, the agents broke and damaged objects associated with the Christian faith.

After 12 days of interrogation in a security detention centre in Rasht City, they were transferred to Rasht Prison. On March 18, 2019,  they were released on bail of 150 million tomans until the end of legal proceedings.

On July 24, 2019, the first trial was held by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. During the court session, the judge increased the bail up to 1.5 billion tomans. Since they could not afford to provide the increased bail, they were detained and sent to Ward No 4 of Evin Prison.

Ultimately, they each were sentenced to five years imprisonment on the charge of “acting against national security and promotion of evangelical Christianity and Zionism”. This verdict was upheld by Branch 36 of the Court of Appeal of Tehran.

Subsequently, their request for a retrial was accepted in Branch 28 of the Supreme Court based on the argument that preaching Christianity and promoting Zionism at home cannot be related to the charge of assembly and collusion in purpose to disturb national security. Therefore, the Supreme Court delivered the case to Branch 34 of the Revolutionary Court which will be held on February 22 of this year.

However, recently a new legal case has been opened against them for which they have been summoned by Evin Prosecutor’s Office.

Despite the fact that Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Iranian law, security forces nevertheless harass and prosecute Muslims who convert to Christianity.

The prosecution of Christian converts stands in blatant violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it openly or secretly.

Christian Convert Sekineh Behjati Summoned to Serve Her Two Year Sentence

Christian Convert Sekineh Behjati was summoned to appear at Branch 1 of the Public and Revolutionary Court in Tehran within 30 days to serve her two year sentence. She was convicted in August of 2020.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, security forces raided and interrogated Behjati in August of 2020 at her house, accusing her of “propaganda against the regime and assembly and collusion against national security.” They also searched the house and confiscated some of her personal belongings. She was told that she will be indicted soon.

In May of 2020, she was arrested after being summoned by Branch 10 of the Revolutionary Court of Rasht City. On May 14, 2020, she was sent to Lakan Prison after failing to provide a bail of 500 million tomans. Finally, she was released six days later after reducing the bail to 200 million tomans.

Despite the fact that Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Iranian law, security forces nevertheless harass and prosecute Muslims who convert to Christianity.
The prosecution of Christian converts stands in blatant violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it openly or secretly.

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Christian Convert Hamed Ashouri Sent to Karaj Central Prison

On Tuesday, July 27, Christian convert Hamed Ashouri was sent to Karaj Central Prison to endure his sentence.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting the website Article 18, the Court of Appeals upheld Ashouri’s ten-month prison sentence the previous day.

Hamed Ashouri had been arrested by security forces in Fardis city in Karaj, in March 2017, and transferred to Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj for interrogation. He was temporarily released after ten days. It is alleged that security forces raided Mr. Ashouri’s home while he was in custody.

A hearing on the charges against this citizen was held in February 2020 in Branch 4 of the Revolutionary Court of Karaj. Finally, in April of this year, Mr. Ashouri was sentenced to 10 months in prison on charges of propaganda against the regime.

Despite the fact that Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Iranian law, security forces nevertheless pursue the issue of Muslims converting to Christianity with particular sensitivity.

The Iranian regime targets Christian converts despite Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it openly or secretly.

Christian Convert Nasser Navard Gol-Tapeh Denied Conditional Release from Evin Prison

On June 22, Christian convert Nasser Navard Gol-Tapeh’s request for conditional release from Evin Prison was rejected.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting the news website Article 18, the rejection of the request for parole was given to Navard Gol-Tapeh without the provision of any specific reason.

In September 2020, the Supreme Court rejected Navard Gol-Tapeh’s request for a retrial. Navard Gol-Tapeh has been in Evin Prison for the past three years and six months without leave.

Navard Gol Tappeh was arrested in a private gathering in July 2016 and later was sentenced by the Revolutionary Court of Tehran to 10 years in prison on charges of “acting against national security by forming and running an illegal organization of a house church”. The verdict was later approved by the Court of Appeals.

Although Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Iranian law, security services nevertheless pursue the issue of Muslims converting to Christianity with particular sensitivity and deal harshly with activists in this field.

The Iranian regime targets Christian converts despite Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and the freedom to express their religious beliefs.

A report on Fatemeh (Mary) Mohammadi

Fatemeh (Mary) Mohammadi, is a detained Christian convert and the former prisoner. She was studying English translation at Islamic Azad University North Tehran Branch but on December 21, 2019, she was banned from entering the university and was told that she has been banned from studying there.

 

First arrest

Fatemeh Mohammadi was arrested on November 18, 2017, for the first time. She was detained in Tehran and was transferred to Evin prison. On April 7th, 2018, Mohammadi, who was 19 years old at that time, was sentenced by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided by judge Ahmadzadeh, to six months imprisonment for the charges of “membership in proselytizing groups,” “Christian activity,” and “acting against the national security through propaganda against the regime.” She was released from Evin Prison’s women’s ward in spring 2018 after completing her sentence.

 

Second Arrest

Fatemeh Mohammadi was arrested by the NAJA (Law Enforcement Force of the Islamic Republic of Iran) on July 9, 2019. She was arrested after a woman, Mousavi, harassed her because of her dress code and injured Mohammadi’s face. Mohammadi went to a police station to file a complaint against that woman but she was arrested instead. The attacker claimed that she was “enjoining good and forbidding wrong” which Iranian authorities considered positive roles in helping others to take the straight path and abstain from reprehensible acts. A witness reported that Mohammadi was sitting on the bus when a Chador-wearing woman, Mousavi, insulted her and advised her to wear her headscarf properly. Mousavi attacked Mohammadi, pushed her chest with her hand, and beat her face until her nails were covered in blood. The bus driver stopped the bus and they went to the police station branch 119. She filed a complaint against Mousavi, but the police let her go and arrested Mohammadi. She was released on bail on July 10, 2019.

 

Third arrest

On January 12, 2020, Fatemeh Mohammadi was arrested during the wave of protests erupted in Tehran and other Iranian cities on January 11, after Iran admitted that it shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing 176 people. She was arrested in Azadi square and was transferred to Vozara detention center. She was severely beaten both in Azadi square and at Vozara detention center. She had bruises for more than three weeks after her arrest. Women guards humiliated her by forcing her to get naked and sitting and standing a few times in front of them and then uncommonly inspected her body twice. According to a close source, she was mistreated by the prison wardens; she was forced to stay outside in the cold weather without any food for 24 hours. After a day, she was transferred to Branch 6 of Evin Prosecutor’s office and was eventually transferred to Qarchak Prison in Varamin and she is currently at the new ward of this prison (Bashgah). She was mistreated and humiliated in this prison.

She was charged with “disturbing public order through attending an unlawful protest”. Her trial is not scheduled yet. Although her bail was set for 30 million Tomans [approx. $3000], the prosecutor did not accept her bail. She was being kept in a limbo state for a month.