Request for a Retrial of Two Christian Converts Rejected By the Supreme Court

Branch 9 of the Supreme Court rejected a request by two Christian converts, Hadi Rahimi and Sekineh Behjati, for a retrial. Rahimi has been recently jailed to serve his four years sentence and Behjati has been summoned to endure her two years imprisonment.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, according to their lawyer, “their request for a retrial is justified on the Article 474 of the Criminal Procedure Code and based on the verdict issued by Branch 28 of the Supreme Court whereby running a home church is not considered as an act against the national security. Moreover, whereas the prosecution has been quashed by the Dezful Courthouse, there are similarities between the verdict against my clients and the above-mentioned verdict, Christian faith is not a crime and is supported by the freedom of expression, the inquisition is prohibited, and finally, every punishment should be predicted in law, the arguments lean towards defendant’s favor rather than the verdict. Nonetheless, regardless of these arguments, the request for a retrial was dismissed.”

In February of 2020, security forces raided their house, confiscated some of their personal belongings and interrogated them about the charges of “propaganda against the regime and assembly and collusion against national security.”

In August of 2020, Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced Rahimi and Behjati to four and two years imprisonment respectively on the charges of “membership in political groups to disturb national security”. In October of that year, their verdict was upheld on appeal.

On January 9, Rahimi was jailed in Evin Prison to endure his sentence.


Two Christian Converts Summoned to Serve Their Sentence

Two Christian converts, Ramin Hassan-Pour and Saeedeh Sajjad-Pour, were summoned by Branch 1 of the Executive Unit of Evin Criminal Courthouse to serve their sentences. In August of 2020, they were sentenced to 5 and 2 years imprisonment respectively.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, quoting Article 18 Organization, two Christian converts Ramin Hassan-Pour and Saeedeh Sajjad-Pour were summoned to appear at the Executive Unit of Evin Criminal courthouse within 20 days to endure their sentence.

In February of 2020, along with two other Christian converts, Catherine Sajjad-Pour and Hadi Rahimi, the two citizens were interrogated at their home by security forces. They searched the house and confiscated some of their personal belongings. Thereafter, they were told that they would be indicted soon.

In May of 2020, Branch 10 of the Revolutionary Court of Rasht City summoned and notified them about the charges and thereafter set bail of 500 million for each. On May 14, 2020, all four were transferred to Lakan Prison in Rasht City following the failure to provide bail. In the following days, they were released from detention after reducing the bail to 200 million tomans.

In August of 2020, Hassan-Pour was sentenced to five years and Sajjad-Pour to two years in 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.