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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 Partovi.

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”. 

“By keeping the case pending and unresolved, security officials are putting Christian prisoners under psychological pressure, raising further concerns among the families of the converts and the Iranian Christian community,” he says. “Long-term detention, psychological pressure, lack of understanding of the charges and lack of permission to leave are obvious violations of the rights of these prisoners.”

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

Borji explains that these prisoners of conscience, after interrogation, were transferred to the Band-e-Ebrat ward of Shiraz’s Adel Abad Prison, which has been condemned for its unhygienic conditions, lack of proper ventilation and prisoners being denied the right to make telephone calls.

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, recently called on Iran to “eliminate the atmosphere of fear and intimidation that prevails in Christian churches, especially in the homes of Protestant Christians.”

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.