Hadi Asgari (Article 18)

An Iranian Christian appealing a conviction on national-security charges was released on bail from Tehran’s Evin Prison on 11 April.

Hadi Asgari, a Christian convert, was arrested in August 2016 and sentenced in July 2017 by the Revolutionary Court in Tehran to 10 years in prison for “action against national security through evangelism”.

His earlier requests for bail had been refused by the Court of Appeal following the postponement of his last hearing. After a reconsideration, an agreement was reached about bail conditions, Middle East Concern reported.

While in prison Asgari reportedly suffered ill health and early last year went on a hunger strike after he had been refused medical treatment. In February four UN officials also raised concerns raised about the state of his health.

They also said they were “deeply concerned by the long jail sentences” Asgari and two other Christian converts had received – all between 10 and 15 years. Amin Afshar-Naderi and Assyrian pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz were arrested alongside Asgari while on a picnic in the Alborz mountains, northeast of Tehran.

They are expected to have an appeal hearing on either 25 April or 8 May. According to Middle East Concern, Afshar-Naderi and Asgari “were put under pressure to convert back to Islam”.

Shamiram Isavi Khabizeh, the wife of Victor Bet-Tamraz, was given a five-year sentence of her own in January, and their son, Ramil, also also facing charges.