Christian convert fitted with electronic tag

Christian convert fitted with electronic tag

Christian convert Reza Zaeemi was yesterday released from prison, on the condition he wears an electronic tag for the remainder of his nine-month sentence.

He is also banned from leaving the country for two years following the completion of his sentence.

Reza has spent 80 days in detention overall, including just over two months in Karaj’s Central Prison since starting his sentence there on 2 June.

He is one of an increasing number of Christian converts to have been convicted of “propaganda against the Islamic Republic” in recent months.

In Reza’s case, the charge sheet listed that his “propaganda” was specifically the “promotion of evangelical Christianity”.

Article18’s advocacy director, Mansour Borji, said: “Article18 welcomes the news of Reza Zaeemi’s release, although he is not ‘free’ in the full meaning of the word. 

“We believe that no-one should have to endure even one day of imprisonment for exercising their right to religious freedom, and every day that Reza and many others like him currently serving prison terms for their Christian beliefs and activities are held is a contravention of Iran’s commitment to international law.”

Reza is not the first Christian convert to have been forced to wear an ankle bracelet this year, in what appears to be an increasing trend.

The same was true in the case of Farhad Mohebbi, also from Karaj, who was one of a number of Christians arrested during a series of raids on their homes in Karaj, Tehran and Malayer last June.

Farhad and three others – Reza N, Alireza M and Arash R – were subsequently sentenced to 10 months each in prison, again on the charge of “propanganda against the state through the promotion of Christianity”.

The four men began serving their sentences in February. 

Farhad was released with an electronic tag a month later, while the other three men have also since been released – on the condition they do not “re-offend”.


Reza was arrested on the street outside his home on 27 November 2020. 

He was blindfolded and handcuffed, then taken to an unknown location, where he was interrogated for four hours, before being transferred to a detention centre belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

After two days, he was taken to the prosecutor’s office, where the charge of “propaganda against the Islamic Republic” was read out to him.

Reza was then taken back to the Revolutionary Guard detention centre for a further eight days, before being transferred to Ghezel Hesar Prison.

A week later, he was released on bail of 60 million tomans (around $2,750). He was not allowed to call his family for the first eight days of his 17 days in detention.

On 25 January 2021, Reza was sentenced to 18 months in prison at the 4th Branch of the Revolutionary Court in Karaj, but on 25 April an appeals court reduced his sentence by half.

After his sentencing, Article18’s Mansour Borji noted: “It is quite clear from the charges against Reza that he is being sent to prison only because of his religious beliefs, in spite of the regime’s repeated claims that ‘no-one is imprisoned on account of their beliefs in Iran’.

“We call on the Iranian government to immediately revoke this sentence and to explain why, contrary to its claims, Christian converts and other unrecognised religious minorities continue to be prosecuted and imprisoned for no other reason than their personal beliefs, in violation of the international covenants to which Iran is a party, and also of Iran’s constitution, which states that ‘no-one may be molested or taken to task for holding a particular belief’.”