Christian converts released on condition they stop meeting together

Christian converts released on condition they stop meeting together

Left to right: Alireza Varak-Shah, Hojjat Lotfi Khalaf, Mohammad Ali (Davoud) Torabi, and Esmaeil Narimanpour. (MEC)

Four Christian converts arrested by agents of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence in the southwestern city of Dezful last week have been released without charge but only after they were ordered to sign commitments to have no further involvement in any Christian activities.

Hojjat Lotfi Khalaf, Esmaeil Narimanpour, Alireza Varak-Shah, and Mohammad Ali Torabi, also known as Davoud, were released on the evening of 21 April after two days in detention.

They were told to expect another summons for interrogation at any time.

According to Mohabat News, 10 to 15 other Christian converts have been interrogated over the past week in Dezful and ordered to sign such commitments to refrain from further Christian activities.

During the interrogations, the Christians were asked about their political views, and told they must vote in the upcoming presidential elections. (Iran is often accused of having a democracy only in name, and higher voter turnout can help paint the picture of a truly democratic society.)

Mohabat News reports that some of the Christians, including Esmaeil, were beaten, and that all of them were told to be ready to appear for further interrogation at a moment’s notice.

Article18 understands that their interrogations took place in a local school due to pressures on other facilities as a result of a spike in Covid-19 cases.

There are also suggestions the four detained Christians were released earlier than intended as a result of the outbreak. Davoud was detained for over a month after his previous arrest, in October 2017, before being released on bail of 200 million tomans (around $60,000). 

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