News

Four months after appeal hearing, converts told jail sentences upheld

Four months after appeal hearing, converts told jail sentences upheld

Two Iranian converts to Christianity have been informed that their jail sentences have been upheld, four months after their appeal hearing, reports Middle East Concern.

Saheb (Zaman) Fadaee and Fatemeh (Ilar) Bakhteri were sentenced to 18 months and 12 months in prison, respectively, in September 2018 for “spreading propaganda against the regime”. Zaman was also sentenced to two years’ exile in Hamedan province.

Saheb Fadaee and Fatemeh Bakhteri

Their appeal hearing took place in January, during which they were asked to renounce their faith.

When they refused, the presiding judges, Hassan Babaee and Mashallah Ahmadzadeh, told them to expect their verdict in a few days.

Four months later, on Saturday, 18 May, they were notified that their sentences had been upheld.

Zaman is already serving a separate ten-year sentence, issued in July 2017, for forming a “house church” and “promoting Zionist Christianity”. He was taken to serve that sentence in Evin Prison in July 2018, alongside his pastor, Yousef Nadarkhani, and two other members of their Rasht church – Mohammad Ali Mossabayeh and Mohammad Reza Omidi, who are also converts to Christianity.

Nine other members of the Rasht “Church of Iran” group have been arrested this year. In March, seven of them were released on bail, but two were held.