Saturday, August 17, 2019

Karaj christian converts begin Jail sentences

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Five Iranian Christian converts on 7 July 2019, submitted themselves to the central detention center in Karaj to begin their jail sentences for “propaganda against the state”.

According to the Human Rights in Iran, Article 18 Organization, Five Christian Converts ; Amin Khaki, Milad Goodarzi, Yaghoob Nateghi, Shahebedin Shahi and Alireza Nourmohamadi – all members of the non-Trinitarian “Church of Iran” submitted themselves to the central detention center in Karaj to begin their jail sentences for “propaganda against the state”.

All 5 Christian Converts were arrested during raids on their homes and workplaces in December 2017.

They were released in early 2018 after each posting bail of 30 million tomans (around $7,000).

In March 2019, Milad, Yaghoob, Shahebedin and Alireza were sentenced to four months in prison; Amin, who has already spent a year in prison for his religious activities, was given 14 months.

Their appeals were rejected last month.

Converts to Christianity continue to be targeted in Iran. Just last week, eight converts were arrested in the south-western city of Bushehr. Article18 reported that this took the number of arrests to 34 so far this year. Article18 is now aware of three further arrests – two in Tehran and another in Bushehr – taking the total to at least 37.

In May, Iran’s Intelligence Minister, Mahmoud Alavi, openly admitted to summoning Christian converts for questioning, saying mass conversions were “happening right before our eyes”.

The UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Javaid Rahman, last week called the treatment of converts in Iran “very disturbing”, and pledged to “look into the issue very seriously”.

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