Article18 has submitted a new report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, highlighting the “multiple layers” of religious-freedom violations faced by Christians and other religious minorities in Iran.
The report, released in collaboration with partner organisations Open Doors, CSW, Middle East Concern and The World Evangelical Alliance, lists five ways in which Iranian Christians face violations to their right to freedom of religion or belief:
The report includes a table of 29 court cases filed against Christians in 2018 and 2019: 18 had been temporarily released on bail at the publication of the report; five were serving five-year prison sentences; four had been released from prison after completing their sentences; and a further two were detained but not yet charged.
Since the publication of the report, on 29 May, four of those on bail have since commenced serving their own five-year prison sentences, while another, Aziz Majidzadeh, appeared in court yesterday.
The table is not exhaustive and does not include confidential cases, nor cases that began prior to 2018, including that of Yousef Nadarkhani and the three Christian converts currently serving 10-year prison sentences alongside him.
However the report highlights Yousef’s case elsewhere, as well as that of Victor Bet-Tamraz and his family. Just three days after the report’s publication, Victor, his wife Shamiram and three Christian converts involved in the same court case saw yet another scheduled appeal hearing postponed.
The report also highlights the case against eight Christian converts in Bushehr; the three prison sentences recently given to 65-year-old Anglican Church member Esmaeil Maghrebinezhad in Shiraz; and the forced closures of the Central Church of Tehran, Emmanuel Protestant Church, St Peter’s Evangelical Church and Assemblies of God Church in Jannat Abad.
The report concludes by calling on the Human Rights Committee to question the Iranian government on how its treatment of Christian converts is in line with its commitments as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), by asking: