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Christians’ belongings held unlawfully, says lawyer

Christians’ belongings held unlawfully, says lawyer

Left to right: Somayeh (Sonya) Sadegh, Mina Khajavi, and Joseph Shahbazian.

The lawyer of five Christians out on bail for more than a year has complained his clients’ confiscated belongings have still not been returned to them, despite the law mandating they should be returned at the “earliest possible opportunity”.

The Christians – Joseph Shahbazian, who is an Iranian-Armenian, and Christian converts Mina Khajavi, Somayeh (Sonya) Sadegh, Salar Eshraghi Moghadam, and Farhad Khazaee – were among dozens arrested in the summer of 2020 and are now facing charges including “attracting Muslims to house-churches” and “weakening the belief in Muslim clerics”.

But although they were freed on bail more than a year ago, their confiscated items have still not been returned to them, despite repeated requests, says lawyer Iman Soleimani.

Mr Soleimani said he went to the court again on Saturday, 18 December, to once more request the return of the items, but was not even permitted to enter the building and told the judge was “too busy”.

The lawyer added that the judge had previously sent two letters asking Ministry of Intelligence officials to return the belongings, but that these had had no effect.

Mr Soleimani said some of the confiscated items do not even belong to the Christians but to their family members.

This is the second time Mr Soleimani has complained of the unlawful confiscation of Christian clients’ property, and just last month the confiscated belongings of four Christians converts from the western city of Dezful were finally returned after a six-month wait.