Christians acquitted, released on bail

Christians acquitted, released on bail

A number of reports have reached Article18 in recent days of the release on bail of several Christians, as well as the acquittal of women who spent nine months in prison. The details of each case is outlined below.

Hamid Shafiee and Reyhaneh Aghajari

This Isfahan-based Christian couple were arrested by intelligence agents on 28 February, and detained on charges of “apostasy” and “promoting Christianity”.

Their family members were finally permitted to see them after around 40 days’ detention in Dastgerd Prison, amid concerns about their health and reports they had gone on hunger strike.

Reyhaneh was finally released on bail on 16 May, then her husband Hamid three days later.

Their bail was set at 100 million tomans (around $125,000).

Their release is only temporary, and they can expect soon to be summoned to court to face the aforementioned charges.

Danial Shahri

This 19-year-old Christian, also from Isfahan, was arrested on 11 April, then held in Dastgerd Prison before his release on bail on 24 April.

During his detention, a trial was held, during which Danial was charged with “propagating Christianity, collaborating in the formation of a house-church, and engaging in unauthorised Internet activities”.

Danial’s release is also temporary, and he can also expect soon to be summoned to court to face the charges.

Vahik Abramian

This resident of Tehran was also temporarily released from Evin Prison on 24 April after nearly two months in detention.

Vahik was held in solitary confinement for 53 days, with no legal basis, and was denied the right to a lawyer or a visit from family members.

The dual Dutch-Iranian citizen returned to Iran in recent years due to family issues.

Prior to his arrest, he spent most of his time serving the socially disadvantaged.

Like Hamid, Reyhaneh, and Danial, he now awaits a court summons.

Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh

These two young Christian women were acquitted by a Tehran court on Sunday 23 May of all charges, having spent 259 days in prison.

Maryam and Marziyeh were arrested on 5 March 2009 at their shared home in Tehran.

After searching the house and confiscating several personal items, the two women were sent to Evin Detention Centre on charges of “acting against national security”.

After spending time in solitary confinement, and appearing in court once, they were charged with “apostasy”, and “propagating Christianity”.

Finally, on 18 November 2009, after 259 days in prison, they were temporarily released.

During their detention, there were rumours the two Christians were denied access to a doctor and medical facilities.

In early spring, a court date was set, but then cancelled as their legal representative was informed they had been acquitted.

Maryam and Marziyeh reportedly left the country after hearing the verdict.

In a note published by Elam Ministries, the two women thanked those who had prayed for them and said they had been strengthened and encouraged during their imprisonment by knowing people around the world were praying for them.