Two Iranian converts to Christianity have been informed that their jail sentences have been upheld, four months after their appeal hearing, reports Middle East Concern.

Saheb Fadaee and Fatemeh Bakhteri were sentenced to 18 months and 12 months in prison, respectively, in September 2018 for “spreading propaganda against the regime”. Saheb was also sentenced to two years’ exile in Nehbandan, near the border with Afghanistan.

Saheb Fadaee and Fatemeh Bakhteri

Their appeal hearing took place in January, during which they were asked to renounce their faith, according to CSW.

When they refused, the presiding judges, Hassan Babaee and Ahmad Zargar, told them to expect their verdict in a few days.

Four months later, on Saturday, 18 May, they were notified that their sentences had been upheld.

The charges against them related to the teaching at their “house church”, part of the self-styled “Church of Iran”, that Christ is Lord and the Bible is the ultimate authority. This was perceived as an attack against Islam.

Saheb is already serving a separate ten-year sentence, issued in July 2017, for forming a “house church” and “promoting Zionist Christianity”. He was taken to serve that sentence in Evin Prison in July 2018, alongside his pastor, Yousef Nadarkhani, and two other members of their Rasht church – Mohammad Ali Mossabayeh and Mohammad Reza Omidi, who are also converts to Christianity.

Nine other members of the Rasht “Church of Iran” group have been arrested this year. In March, seven of them were released on bail, but two were held.

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