Eight Christians sentenced to combined 45 years in prison

Eight Christians sentenced to combined 45 years in prison

Yasin Mousavi (Photo: Mohabat News)

Eight Iranian Christian converts have been sentenced to a combined total of nearly 45 years in prison.

The eight, who are from the western city of Izeh, were among the at least 46 Iranian Christians arrested over the Christmas period, though until this moment it has not been possible to identify them.

Even now, there is little information about most of the Christians, aside from the one who received the stiffest sentence – a man named Yasin Mousavi, who was given 15 years in prison.

According to Iranian Christian website Mohabat News, Yasin was given 10 years for “membership of a group intent on disrupting national security” and a further five years for “propaganda against the regime through the promotion of ‘Zionist’ Christianity”.

The sentence was reportedly issued on 27 May at the Ahvaz Revolutionary Court by Judge Mehdi Fathinia, who recently sentenced another Christian convert to five years in prison.

According to the report, Yasin has been arrested on three previous occasions, including during the protests of 2022, when the city of Izeh saw some of the fiercest demonstrations – especially after the killing of a nine-year-old boy, Kian Pirfalak.

The indictment against Yasin reportedly also includes an allegation that he “played an active role in the protests”, as well as being “one of the leaders” of an evangelical Christian organisation in the region.

Yasin’s latest arrest took place on Christmas Eve, after which he was reportedly held in solitary confinement for 20 days at the Ministry of Intelligence detention centre, before being transferred to Shiban Prison in Ahvaz.

After nearly four months’ detention, Yasin was reportedly released on bail of 2 billion tomans (around $30,000) on 20 April, before being sentenced a month later.

Yasin reportedly spent three months in Shiban Prison following a previous arrest in 2017, and a further three months in prison in 2021.

No details were provided regarding the other Christians sentenced, beyond their names and the length of their sentences, which are as follows:

  • Hamid Afzali: 10 years
  • Nasrullah Mousavi, Bijan Qolizadeh and Iman Salehi: 5 years
  • Two unnamed individuals: 2 years
  • Zahrab Shahbazi: 9 months

Iman is reportedly still being detained, while the others are currently out on bail.

Article18 understands that the convictions were based on Article 500 of the penal code, which has been used on numerous occasions to convict Christians since it was controversially amended in 2021.

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