Christian convert refused parole again despite assurances

Christian convert refused parole again despite assurances

Christian prisoner of conscience Nasser Navard Gol-Tapeh has for the second time this year been refused conditional release, or even a furlough.

The Christian convert, who turned 60 in August, is eligible for parole, having served over one third of his 10-year sentence for membership of a house-church.

But although he was led to believe his conditional release was imminent, following a visit by the chief prosecutor last month, Nasser has now been informed he will not be released – not even temporarily.

Nasser’s lawyer only found out about the decision when he followed up the matter with the chief prosecutor’s office on Sunday.

He learned that the rejection had been signed by the prosecutor himself on 21 September but not communicated to him. He was also told no promise of release had been made; only a promise to consider Nasser’s parole, which had now resulted in another rejection.

Nasser was told he can apply again in six months’ time.

On his 60th birthday, Nasser’s elderly mother, for whom he was the primary carer before his incarceration, gave an impassioned plea for her son’s release, saying she was “very lonely” and that her son had “done nothing wrong; he only became a Christian”.

This plea coincided with Article18’s campaign to #FreeNasserNavard, while the UK parliament’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief selected Nasser as one of the first four global prisoners of conscience to be “adopted”.

But despite these campaigns and pleas, for now Nasser remains in Tehran’s Evin Prison.