Anooshavan Avedian awaits imprisonment as converts summoned to Tehran prosecutor  

Anooshavan Avedian awaits imprisonment as converts summoned to Tehran prosecutor  

Left to right: Maryam (Khadijeh) Mohammadi, Anooshavan Avedian, and Abbas Soori.

A 60-year-old Iranian-Armenian Christian is awaiting a summons to begin his 10-year prison sentence for “engaging in propaganda contrary to and disturbing to the holy religion of Islam”.

This comes after his case, and that of two Christian converts facing exile from their home city of Tehran, was sent to the court responsible for executing judgements.

The two converts, Maryam Mohammadi, 46, and Abbas Soori, 45, have already been summoned to the prosecutor’s office in Tehran for the execution of their sentences, meaning that it seems only a matter of time before Anooshavan is also called.

The three Christians were sentenced in April, and their appeals rejected in May, though Abbas and Maryam’s 10-year deprivation of social rights was removed from their sentence and their fines for being in possession of satellite receivers were reduced from 50m tomans ($2,000) to 6m tomans ($190) each.

The Christians’ lawyer, Iman Soleimani, has appealed to the Supreme Court for a retrial, but this does not block the execution of their sentences.

Mr Soleimani earlier voiced his dismay that his clients’ appeals were rejected in absentia, despite pleading for their case to be heard in person.

He also complained that after submitting at least seven folders of documents, including around 600 pages each, and detailing numerous legal challenges, the verdict was issued in less than 10 days.

This, he said, “demonstrates insufficient study of the case by the appeal judges, dismissal of the defence, and an unjust process”.

Mr Soleimani added that as Anooshavan was not permitted to have a lawyer in his initial trial at the Revolutionary Court, he was unable to defend himself adequately against the volume of accusations built up against him by interrogators. 

All three Christians appealed against the initial verdict, which was issued by Judge Iman Afshari at the 26th Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran on 11 April.

Judge Afshari, who is also head of intelligence at the court, has issued some of the harshest recent sentences against Christians, including a 10-year sentence earlier this month for another Iranian-Armenian Christian, Joseph Shahbazian, and six-year sentences for two women converts, Malihe Nazari and Mina Khajavi.

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