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Eight Christians given prison sentences in Shiraz

Eight Christians given prison sentences in Shiraz

The Revolutionary Court in Shiraz on Tuesday 16 July handed heavy jail sentences to eight members of the “Church of Iran”.

Mohammad Roghangir was sentenced to six years in prison; Massoud Rezaie to five; Mehdi Ameruni and Bijan Farokhpour Haghighi to three; Shahin Lahooti and Soroush Saraei to two and a half; and Eskandar Rezaei and Roxana Forughi to one.

They were convicted of “action against national security” and “propaganda against the state”. All eight are expected to appeal.

Seven of the eight were arrested in October at a “house church” meeting in Shiraz at the home of Mohammad Roghangir. The eighth, Massoud Rezaei, was arrested six days later.

All eight were eventually released on bail after paying significant sums.

Over the past few years, the use of national-security-related charges against prisoners of conscience has become a constant trend in the Islamic Republic’s judicial system, with the aim of providing a legal basis for dubious charges.

Article18’s Advocacy Director, Mansour Borji, says: “The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to persecute and harass religious minorities, especially Persian-speaking Christians, contrary to their legal obligations at both a national and international level. Falsely alleging that Christians are ‘acting against national security’ is simply an attempt to prevent them from being able to peacefully practise their faith.

“Article18 demands that Iran respects the legal rights of Persian-speaking Christians, providing them with true religious freedom in accordance with Article 18 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory.”