Second convert released as part of Islamic Republic anniversary celebrations

Second convert released as part of Islamic Republic anniversary celebrations

A second convert serving a long prison sentence for being part of a house-church has been released as part of a wider amnesty of prisoners on the occasion of the 44th anniversary of the Islamic Republic.

Hadi Rahimi, known as Moslem, was released last Wednesday, after spending more than a year in prison for “acting against national security” by “spreading ‘Zionist’ Christianity”.

The 33-year-old’s release came six days after that of fellow convert Saheb Fadaie, who was also “pardoned” after nearly five years in prison on similar charges. 

Both men are members of the “Church of Iran” in the northern city of Rasht.

Saheb was initially sentenced to 10 years in prison, later reduced to six, while Moslem received a four-year sentence.

Moslem, who is a delivery driver, began his prison sentence in January of last year, after handing himself in to Tehran’s Evin Prison so the property deed submitted by a friend to secure his bail may be released.

He was one of four converts to receive sentences in August 2020 of between two to five years in prison, including Moslem’s aunt Mehri, who is currently serving a two-year sentence.

Each year, the Islamic Republic announces a wave of pardons to coincide with particular events – for example in October last year, when Christian converts Nasser Navard Gol-Tapeh and Fariba Dalir were pardoned on the occasion of Muhammad’s birth.

However, as noted in Article18’s latest annual report, released yesterday, “such pardons, while welcome, do not address the original injustice of their sentencing, and imprisonment and the government continues to regard rights and freedoms guaranteed in international law as crimes, including the right to freely adopt a religion of one’s choice, and to manifest one’s faith in community with others”.