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Shiraz Christians still ‘in jail and uncertainty’

Shiraz Christians still ‘in jail and uncertainty’

Left to right: Homayoun Shokouhi, Mojtaba Hosseini, Vahid Hakkani, and Mohammad-Reza Partoei.

Article18’s Advocacy Director, Mansour Borji, has spoken to Radio Farda’s Fred Petrossian about the situation of four Christian prisoners in Shiraz.

In the article, Borji explains that, “ten months after the arrest of a group of Christians, four of them remain in jail and uncertainty”. 

“Security officials have put psychological pressure on the Christian prisoners, raising the concerns of their families and the Christian community of Iran,” he says. “Long-term detention, mental and psychological pressures, lack of understanding of the charges against them, and denial of leave of absence – these are some of the violations these prisoners have experienced.”

The four men, Mojtaba Hosseini, Homayoun Shokouhi, Vahid Hakkani, and Mohammad-Reza Partoei, were arrested in February at a “house church” gathering.

Borji explains that these prisoners of conscience, after interrogation, were transferred to Shiraz’s Adel Abad Prison.

“The ward they have been taken to has very inappropriate, unhealthy conditions, a lack of proper ventilation, and prisoners are unable to make telephone calls, which puts them under further pressure,” he says.

Borji explains that Shiraz currently has the highest number of Christian prisoners of any Iranian city. 

Article18 asks Iran’s judiciary to release these men, ahead of Christmas.

Ahmed Shaheed and Heiner Bielefeldt, UN Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights in Iran, said recently that churches in Iran were operating in a “climate of fear”.

Since the revolution, several church leaders have been killed, and hundreds of Christians have been questioned and imprisoned. The Bible is forbidden in Persian, and some churches have been closed.