Ethnic Iranians are seen as being Muslim, and carrying out any Christian activities in their Farsi language is illegal. An Iranian man who leaves Islam can be sentenced to death and a woman to life imprisonment, although such sentences haven’t been carried out for more than 20 years. However, in 2017 over a dozen Christians – most of them converts to Christianity – were given prison sentences of between 10 and 15 years for “acting against national security”. According to religious freedom watchdog Article 18, such political charges attempt “to avoid international outcry at religiously motivated charges”. Several imprisoned Iranian Christians have undertaken hunger strikes in protest.

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Four Iranian Christians set to begin ten-year prison sentences

From left: Saheb Fadaie, Youcef Nadarkhani, Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Mohammad Reza Omidi.

The four Iranian Christians who saw their ten-year prison sentences upheld by an appeal court earlier this month are expecting to have to report to prison any day now. Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, and fellow Church of Iran members Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie and Mohammad Reza Omidi could receive a call […]

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Temporary release for one Iranian Christian, court hearings for others

Temporary release for one Iranian Christian, court hearings for others

An Iranian Christian imprisoned last year for actions against national security has been granted “a few days” leave of absence, according to London-based advocacy organisation Article 18. Sevada Aghaser, a choir leader in an Armenian Orthodox church in the capital Tehran, is serving a five-year sentence in the capital’s notorious […]

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Iranian Christians’ jail terms ‘increasing’

Iranian Christians’ jail terms ‘increasing’

An appeal court in Iran has upheld the ten-year prison sentences handed down to four Christians for “promoting Zionist Christianity” and running house churches. Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie and Mohammad Reza Omidi  received notification from the court through their lawyer yesterday (2 May), said Middle East Concern. […]

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Iran: appeal heard by judge with ‘poor track record in dealing with Christians’

Iran: appeal heard by judge with ‘poor track record in dealing with Christians’

Four Iranian Christians each sentenced to at least ten years in prison had their first appeal hearing yesterday (25 April). In the hearing, initially scheduled for February but postponed, a judge heard the case of Christian converts Hadi Asgari, Amin Afshar-Naderi, Kaviyan Fallah-Mohammadi and Assyrian pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz. At least […]

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Iran: do non-Muslims have the right to hold elected public office or not?

Iran: do non-Muslims have the right to hold elected public office or not?

In Iran, which is 90-95 per cent Shia Muslim, the passing of a date set for a decision over whether a non-Muslim can hold an elected public office is significant for the country’s religious minorities and their rights. The date, April 5, passed without that decision being made for a […]

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Iran: Christian convert appealing 10-year sentence out on bail

Iran: Christian convert appealing 10-year sentence out on bail

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 […]

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Iran: Jailed convert to Christianity refused medical treatment

Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh (Photo: Article 18)

An Iranian convert to Christianity currently serving 10 years in prison for “missionary activities” is being denied access to the medical treatment he needs, according to advocacy group Article 18. Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh was first arrested in June 2016 alongside three Azerbaijanis, after security agents raided a wedding party in […]

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UN told to renew mandate of Iran Special Rapporteur on human rights

Asma Jahangir, Member of the International Fact-Finding Mission during the press conference presen's its findings on the implications Israeli settlements have upon the human rights of the Palestinian people. 31 Juanary 2013. Photo by Jean-Marc Ferré

Forty-six Iranian and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have called for the renewal of the mandate of the UN’s Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran. The NGOs addressed a joint letter to all diplomatic missions attending the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, as the US-based […]

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