Convert’s continued imprisonment a ‘deterrent’ to other Christians, says lawyer

Convert’s continued imprisonment a ‘deterrent’ to other Christians, says lawyer

An Iranian Christian prisoner of conscience recently adopted by the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief has been denied parole for a fifth time.

Nasser Navard Gol-Tapeh, who is 60 years old, has been in prison since January 2018, serving a 10-year sentence for “acting against national security by establishing house-churches”.

He is eligible for release on parole having served well over one-third of his sentence, but all requests for either parole or a reduction in his sentence have been denied.

His lawyer, Iman Soleimani, says he has been told that Nasser is being held as a “deterrent” to other Christians, and that it is believed that to release him ahead of time would send out the wrong message.

Nasser has suffered several health issues during his incarceration and was recently sent for an MRI scan after losing hearing in his left ear, which also affected his balance and led to a number of falls.

His elderly mother also recorded an emotional plea on video a year ago for her son and primary carer to be returned to her side, but he remains in prison.

Article18 calls on Iran to free Nasser Navard and all other Christians detained only as a result of their personal beliefs and the peaceful outworking of that faith.

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