Christian convert released on $10,000 bail after four months’ detention

Christian convert released on $10,000 bail after four months’ detention

A Christian convert arrested on Christmas Eve has been released on bail equivalent to more than $10,000 after over four months in detention.

Esmaeil Narimanpour, 37, who was previously forced to undergo religious “re-education” with a Muslim cleric, was released on bail of 700 million tomans on Tuesday, 30 April. 

According to Iranian Christian news agency Mohabat News, Esmaeil has been charged with “acting against national security by communicating with Christian ‘Zionist’ organisations”.

Esmaeil reportedly spent most of his detention in Shiban Prison in Ahvaz, two hours’ drive south of his home in Dezful, where he was arrested at around 6pm on Christmas Eve. 

Esmaeil’s home was searched and his Christian books confiscated during the raid, though the arresting agents did not have a warrant. He was then transferred to a detention centre belonging to the Ministry of Intelligence in Ahvaz, where he spent 18 days, according to Mohabat News, before being sent to Shiban Prison.

As Article18 previously reported, Esmaeil was able to call his family briefly on Christmas Day to tell them that he was being held somewhere in Ahvaz, but when his wife and brother went to follow up on his case, they were themselves questioned and detained for several hours.

Esmaeil was one of at least 46 Christians arrested during a renewed crackdown on house-churches across Iran over the Christmas season, including some in Ahvaz and nearby Izeh, as noted in our 2024 annual report.

Several of those detained at Christmas and in the wave of arrests last summer remain in prison, with some already sentenced to long imprisonment, though Article18 has not been at liberty to report on their cases.

Our latest annual report was titled ‘Faceless Victims’ to draw attention to the many Iranian Christians who choose not to publicise their cases for fear of further worsening their plight.

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