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Revolutionary Court denies Christian bail

Revolutionary Court denies Christian bail

Nineteen months since the arrest of Hadi Asgari, judicial authorities are still refusing to allow him to go out on bail until his appeal hearing.

One of Hadi’s relatives, whose identity is being withheld for security reasons, told Article18: “Hadi had not been able to secure the large bail amount of 170 million tomans [$40,000] until recently, due to a lack of financial resources. Now that this problem has been fixed and the bail has been thoroughly prepared, the judge has postponed the bailout process for various reasons.”

Hadi last appealed for bail just before the Nowruz holidays, but officials ordered that the decision be postponed for another month, so Hadi was deprived of the chance to be with his family for the New Year celebrations.

Hadi was sentenced to 10 years in prison at Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal of Tehran on 3 July 2017, when Judge Mashallah Ahmadzadeh convicted him of “acting against national security by establishing churches and promoting Christianity”. He was also banned from leaving the country for two years after his release.

Hadi went on hunger strike for two weeks in February, alongside his fellow Christian detainee, Amin Afshar-Naderi, who has been sentenced to 15 years in prison, complaining about how their cases had been handled. Amin is currently out on bail.

Hadi and Amin were arrested on 26 August, 2016, along with 13 others, at a retreat in Firoozkooh, and spent 82 days in solitary confinement in Section 209 of Evin Prison. He was then transferred to Section 4.

Despite claims by the government of Hassan Rouhani that all Iranians enjoy full religious freedom, arbitrary arrests, repression and pressure on Persian-speaking Christians have continued and in fact accelerated, with a new wave of violence and heavy sentences against Iranian Christians in the past year.