According to reports, eight Christian converts who were recently released from prison were summoned to Branch 34 of the Court of Appeal in Tehran on March 3rd.
Between the 9th and the 11th of January, 9 Christian converts were temporarily released on bail, and based on the “unprecedented” ruling of one of the Supreme Court’s branches in November, which did not consider “promoting Christianity and establishing a house church” a crime.
These Christian citizens were Behnam Akhlik, Babak Hosseinzadeh, Abdolreza (Matias) Ali Haqnejad, Shahrouz Islamdost, Mehdi Khatibi, Khalil Dehghanpour, Hossein Kadivar, Kamal Nomanian and Mohammad Fafadar – all members of a house church called “Church of Iran”. They are in the city of Rasht, who were accused of “acting against the country’s security by forming a house church and propagating evangelical and Zionist Christianity” in Mehr 2018. And each was sentenced to five years in prison.
According to the verdict of the second branch of the Supreme Court, Abdul Reza (Matias) was imprisoned in Anzali on January 25, 1400. The Supreme Court overturned the trial verdict that acquitted Mathias and two other Christian converts after seven years. The name of this Christian convert has not been mentioned to appear in the appeal court.
The government of Iran has closed the Farsi-speaking churches and is harassing Christians by attacking their houses and home churches. These Christian citizens were arrested during raids on their homes and churches in February and March 2017.
In protest of this government repression, the “Church is the right of all Christians” campaign was recently launched by a group of Christian converts and supported by the “Article 18” organization. By publishing a video and writing a letter, a group of Christians have asked the Iranian government that “where can a Christian convert worship without ending up in prison.”
Recently, the “Open Doors” organization named Iran as the ninth “anti-Christian” country in the world in its annual report.