‘Church of Iran’ members acquitted ahead of Christmas

‘Church of Iran’ members acquitted ahead of Christmas

An appeals court in Karaj has acquitted two members of the “Church of Iran” of the serious crimes of “moharebeh” (waging war against God) and “spreading corruption on Earth”.

Reza Rabbani and Abdolreza Ali Haghnejad were acquitted on 14 December. They had been charged on 17 September and detained for five and three months, respectively.

Their fellow “Church of Iran” member, Behnam Irani, who is already serving a six-year sentence, had also been threatened with these serious additional charges.

In October 2012, Reza and Abdolreza were also sentenced to six years in prison for “Christian propaganda”, the court ruling that they should serve their sentences in the southern city of Minab, on the other side of the country to their homes.

However, before the commencement of their sentences, Reza was arrested in May during a raid on his home in Karaj and Abdolreza was arrested two months later, alongside two fellow “Church of Iran” members, Mohammad Roghangir and Soroush Saraei, at Abdolreza’s home in Bandar Anzali.

It was following these arrests that they were hit with the additional charges of moharebeh and “spreading corruption on Earth”.

Ahvaz Christians released

Meanwhile, three other “Church of Iran” members have been released after ten months in prison in Ahvaz. 

Amin Khaki, Hussein Baronzadeh and Rahman Bahmani were arrested in March, along with five others – Hossein Etemadifar, Mohammad Bahrami, Saiede Rahimi, Fatemeh Bagheri and Amineh Moalla – in the city of Shush. 

The five others were released a few hours later, but Amin, Hussein and Rahman were transferred to Karun Prison in Ahvaz, where they were charged with “actions against national security”.