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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Iranian Christian convert detained since before Christmas

Ali Amini (Article 18)

An Iranian convert to Christianity arrested more than two months ago remains in prison in the conservative north-western city of Tabriz, according to rights group Article 18. Ali Amini, known by his friends as Philip, was arrested by revolutionary guards at his workshop in the city on 10 December. His […]

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Iran protests saw people ‘turn their backs on political Islam’

Ayatollah Khomeini

Iranians are challenging the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic because corruption and inequality undermine its ideals, a human rights activist has claimed. In an interview with World Watch Monitor, Mansour Borji, Iranian-born advocacy director of UK-based human rights charity Article 18, said the street protests that spread across the country […]

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Iran: 2 Christians given 8-year prison sentences

The outside of the Evin prison in Tehran. Photo: Flickr/ SabzPhoto

Two Iranian Christians in the southern city of Shiraz have been sentenced to eight years in prison for “action against national security”, proselytising and holding “house-church” meetings. Eskander Rezaie and Soroush Seraie, who have both spent time in prison before, will appeal their sentences, according to Christian advocacy group Middle […]

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Iranian Christian women describe ‘world’s most brutal prison’

Iranian Christian women describe ‘world’s most brutal prison’

Two Iranian Christian women who once faced the threat of execution for their faith have described the conditions inside Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, calling it “the most brutal prison in the world”. Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh, who spent eight months there in 2009/10, now live in the US, where […]

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Iran: Christian convert loses appeal against 10-year sentence for ‘missionary activities’

Iran: Christian convert loses appeal against 10-year sentence for ‘missionary activities’

An Iranian convert to Christianity has had his 10-year prison sentence upheld after losing his appeal. Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh was sentenced in May alongside three Azerbaijanis. All four men were given 10-year sentences for “missionary activities” and “actions against national security” in Iran. However, the three Azerbaijanis – Eldar Gurbanov, […]

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Iranian Christian convert released on bail days after threat of ‘indefinite’ incarceration

Iranian Christian convert released on bail days after threat of ‘indefinite’ incarceration

An Iranian convert to Christianity arrested on unspecified charges has been released on bail just days after his family was told he would be detained indefinitely. Mohammed Ali Torabi, 39, was ordered to pay 200 million tomans (around US $57,000) to secure his release from prison in Ahvaz, capital of Iran’s […]

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