Christian Convert Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud-Kari Arrested in Rasht

On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, Christian convert Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud-Kari was arrested after an appearance at the Courthouse of Rasht City and transferred to Lakan Prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, following a failed attempt to arrest Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud-Kari last Sunday, the security forces summoned him to appear at the Courthouse of Rasht City. Subsequently, Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud-Kari was arrested and transferred to Lakan Prison.

Attorney Iman Soleimani told HRANA, “the authorities informed Mr. Mashhoud-Kari that he would be arrested if he failed to come to the IRGC Intelligence Office. When he appeared there, he found out that a new legal case  had been opened against him and several other Christian converts.”

Last Sunday, the security forces arrested four other Christian converts, Behnam Akhlaghi, Babak Hossein-Zadeh, Ayoub Pourreza-Zadeh, and Ahmad Sarparast in Rasht City.

Earlier, in April of 2022, the Revolutionary Court of Rasht sentenced Mashhoud-Kari to five years imprisonment and 180 million tomans fine on the charges of “forming church home, propaganda against the regime and association with Zionism and Branhamist sect.”  On May 23 of this year, Branch 18 of the Court of Appeal of Gilan Province will hold the first session to re-examine his case.

Despite the fact that Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Iranian law, security forces 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.

  

Three Christian Converts Sentenced to Total of 15 Years in Prison

Recently, the Revolutionary Court of Rasht City sentenced three Christian Converts, Ahmad Sarparast, Ayoub Pourrezazadeh and Morteza Hajeb Mashhood-Kari each to 5 years imprisonment and a fine of 18 million tomans.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, the Revolutionary Court of Rasht notified lawyer Iman Soleimani about the verdict against his clients. According to this verdict, Ahmad Sarparast, Ayoub Pourrezazadeh and Morteza Hajeb Mashhood-Kari have been sentenced to five years imprisonment on the charges of “holding home church services, propaganda against the regime, association with Zionism and Branhamist sect”. They have also been fined in the amount of 18 million tomans.

In an interview with HRANA, attorney Iman Soleimani said, “This trial did not go through a legal process as the judge was affected by judicial officers’ efforts to ensure the conviction, unlike the fact that the defendants did not commit any crimes punishable under Article 500 of the Islamic Penal Code. Rather, the defendant exercised their rights to freedom of opinion. The conviction stands at odds with the prohibition of inquisition and the principle of resolution of ambiguities in favor of defendants. These individuals would not have been  convicted in a fair trial.”

On September 5, 2021, these three Christian converts were arrested by security forces in Rasht. Thirteen days later, in a phone call to their families, Ahmad Sarparast and Morteza Hajeb Mashhood-Kari mentioned their relocation to Lakan Prison. On September 22, 2021, they were released on bail of 400 million tomans until the end of legal proceedings. One day later, Ayoub Pourrezazadeh was also released on bail of the same amount.

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 Sent to Bushehr Prison to Endure One Year Sentences

Earlier this Thursday, November 11, Christian converts Sasan Khosravi and Habib Heydari were sent to Bushehr Prison to endure their prison sentences.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Mohabbat News, the Revolutionary Court of Bushehr sentenced each of them to one-year imprisonment, among other punishments, in June of this year. These verdicts were later upheld by the court of appeals.

Khosravi and Heydari received these sentences on a charge of “propaganda against the regime”. They had also faced two other charges of “acting against national security” and “membership in anti-regime group”, but of both of these they were acquitted.

On July 1, 2019, the intelligence agents arrested Khosravi and Heydari in Bushehr and  released them on a bail of 300 million tomans after two weeks. During their detention period, the detainees were held in solitary confinement and denied any access to a lawyer. They were also forced to make a videotaped confession.

Despite the fact that Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Islamic law, the security services pursue the issue of Muslims converting to Christianity with particular sensitivity and deal harshly with those who convert to Christianity.

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.

 

Three Christian Converts Summoned in Karaj to Endure Their Sentences

Christian Converts Amin Khaki, Milad Goodarzi, and Alireza Nourmohammadi were summoned to appear today, November 10, at the Executive Unit of the Court of Karaj to endure their sentences.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, Branch 12 of the Court of Appeals of Alborz Province had previously sentenced each of these citizens to three years in prison.

In their first trial, which took place on June 26 of this year, they were each sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and paying a fine of 40 million tomans by Branch 4 of the Revolutionary Court of Karaj on charges of “propaganda and catechizing deviant against the holy Sharia of Islam”.  Following the verdict, they were released each on bail of 250 million Tomans. On August 22, the verdict was reduced to three years each on appeal.

Despite the fact that Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Islamic law, nevertheless, the security services pursue the issue of Muslims converting to Christianity with particular sensitivity and deal harshly with the converts of the Christian faith.

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.

 

 

Security Forces Arrest Three Christian Converts in Rasht

On Sunday, September 5, Christian converts Ahmad Sarparast, Ayub Pour Rezazadeh, and Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud Kari were arrested by security forces in Rasht and taken to an unknown location.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activist, Mr. Sarparast and Mr. Pour Rezazadeh were detained in a house church. Security forces raided the homes of these citizens and confiscated some of their belongings, including cell phones, books, and pamphlets related to Christianity. According to an informed source, the agents behaved violently and insultingly and refused to show arrest or search warrants.

Relatives of these citizens are said to have been threatened by IRGC intelligence agents for providing information about the condition of their loved ones. Also, one of their relatives along with several other members of the house church were summoned to the Rasht IRGC Intelligence Office and interrogated.

According to a source close to the families of these citizens, after their families went to Branch 4 of the Rasht Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office to follow up on the case, they were not given any answer and were told, “Do not follow up. They will not be released any time soon. They do not deserve freedom and must stay.”

25-year-old Ahmad (Yohanna) Sarparast, 28-year-old Ayub (Farzin) Pour Rezazadeh, and 38-year-old Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud Kari are residents of Rasht.

Even though Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Islamic law, the 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 state that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it openly or secretly.

As of this writing, the reasons for the arrest, the charges against them, and the whereabouts of these citizens are unknown.

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Christian Converts Amin Khaki, Milad Goodarzi, and Alireza Nourmohammadi Sentenced to a Total of 9 Years in Prison

On Sunday, August 22, Branch 12 of the Alborz Court of Appeals sentenced Amin Khaki, Milad Goodarzi, and Alireza Nourmohammadi, three Christian converts, to a total of nine years in prison.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Mohabbat News, in their first trial in June this year, Amin Khaki, Milad Goodarzi, and Alireza Nourmohammadi were each sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and fined 40 million Tomans, by the Fourth Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Karaj, on charges of propaganda and catechizing deviant against the holy Sharia of Islam.

Despite the fact that Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Islamic law, the 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 state that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it openly or secretly.

Three Christian Converts Sentenced to a Total of 15 Years in Prison and a Fine

Amin Khaki, Milad Goodarzi, and Alireza Nourmohammadi were sentenced by the Fourth Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Karaj to five years each in prison and a fine of 40 million tomans.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting the website Article 18 , the three christian converts were sentenced for “Propaganda and educational activities contrary to the holy Sharia of Islam”.

The citizens had been released on bail of 250 million tomans each in November 2020 after being summoned to judicial authorities and filing a case.

Despite the fact that Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Iranian law, the 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 state that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it openly or secretly.

A Christian Citizen Was Arrested and Another Was Went into Exile

According to Aran Moghan, a Christian citizen was arrested in Pars Abad Moghan by the Damghan Intelligence Department officers and Security police. He was accused of “Christianity mission” and “disturbing public opinion” in public space and cyberspace.

Additionally, another Christian citizen, Ebrahim Firouzi, started serving his sentence to live in exile in Sarbaz city on November 12, 2019. He was released on October 26, 2019, after serving five years in Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj. On March 7th, 2013, Ebrahim Firouzi, a 28-year-old Christian convert was arrested by the security forces when he was on his way to his work. He was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment. He has multiple arrests in his record and was previously sentenced to one year in prison and two years living in exile in Sarbaz. He was tried on the charge of acting against the national security on March 8, 2015, by judge Mogheiseh. He has no access to a lawyer before trial and met his lawyer for the first time in the court hearing. The Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced Ebrahim Firouzi to five years in prison. He was arrested for the first time on January 11, 2011. He was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment on the charge of “propaganda against the state”, “insulting Islamic sacraments” and “acting against national security” by the Branch 102 of Robat Karim’s Revolutionary Court.

Although Christianity is an official minority religion in Iran, converting to Christianity is not acceptable.