Farshid Fathi released after 5 years in prison

Farshid Fathi released after 5 years in prison

Prisoner of conscience Farshid Fathi has been released from Rajaei Shahr Prison in Karaj after five years’ imprisonment.

Farshid has been in detention ever since his arrest on 26 December 2010, when he was one of dozens of Christians arrested during raids on house-churches across the country.

A few days after his arrest, the governor of Tehran, Morteza Tamadon, likened the spread of Christianity to the “plague” and called Evangelical Christianity a “corrupt and deviant” sect.

Farshid, who is 36 years old and has two children, spent 15 months in Evin Prison without any verdict until he was sentenced to six years in prison in March 2012 for “acting against national security, communicating with foreign organisations and promoting Christianity”.

Farshid has spent time in both Rajaei Shahr Prison and Tehran’s Evin Prison and was among 30 prisoners of conscience badly beaten by prison guards in Ward 350 of Evin Prison in April 2014.

At least four prisoners, including Farshid, suffered such serious injuries that they had to be transferred to hospitals outside of the prison.

The attack was widely condemned by international organisations, but prison authorities denied wrongdoing and sought to pin the blame on the prisoners.

In the wake of the incident, the prison authorities transferred several inmates to other prisons, including Farshid, who was sent to Rajaei Shahr in August 2014, at the behest of the Revolutionary Court.

Then in December 2014, Farshid was handed an additional year’s imprisonment, 74 lashes and a fine of 200,000 tomans (around $65) for alleged possession of alcohol. However, in July 2015 he was notified that he was set for early release. 

During his incarceration, Farshid spent time with other imprisoned Christians such as Fariborz Azram, Alireza Seyyedian, Saeed Abedini, Ebrahim Firoozi, and Rasoul Abdullahi.