Mohammad Reza Partovi granted conditional release

Mohammad Reza Partovi granted conditional release

One of four Christian converts detained in Shiraz’s Adel Abad Prison for over two years has been granted conditional release.

Mohammed Reza Partovi was serving a sentence of three years and eight months, alongside fellow converts Vahid Hakkani, Mojtaba Hosseini and Homayoun Shokouhi.

The four were arrested in February 2012 and convicted in June 2013 of “promoting Christianity”, “association with Christian organisations abroad”, “propaganda against the state”, and “disrupting national security”. 

Following Mohammad Reza’s release on Tuesday, Vahid Hakkani ended his hunger strike, which he had undertaken in protest against the authorities’ decision not to grant the Christians early release – now that they had served over half their sentences.

Vahid’s health had deteriorated significantly during his hunger strike, and he had been transferred to the prison health centre.

After their arrests in February 2012, it was over eight months before the Christians were given a court hearing – on 15 October 2012 – presided over by Judge Rashidi in Branch 3 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Shiraz. Their second hearing was held in the same branch on 28 December 2012.

Then in October 2013 their appeals were rejected. Meanwhile, the wife and son of one of the Christians, Homayoun Shokouhi, were also given two-year suspended jail sentences.

It is worth mentioning that the four men were forced to serve their sentences in the common criminal section of the prison, rather than in a special wing designed for political prisoners or other prisoners of conscience. 

The families of the Christians have made several pleas for their loved ones to be granted early release, but until now the Revolutionary Court judge had rejected their appeals.