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Iran: Converts to Christianity already facing charges re-arrested in Rasht

The U.S. State Department has classified Iran as a “country of particular concern” for “having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom.” These violations of religious freedom often take the form of persecution of converts to Christianity, who are seen as threats to the state.

For previous coverage of Iran, see here.

“Converts already facing charges re-arrested in Rasht,” Article 18, May 9, 2022:

Four “Church of Iran” members already facing criminal charges relating to the practice of their faith, with two having spent over two years in prison, were re-arrested last night, while a fifth was ordered to hand himself in today.

Behnam Akhlaghi, Babak Hosseinzadeh, Ahmad Sarparast, and Ayoob Poor-Rezazadeh were arrested at their homes last night by intelligence agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and taken to an IRGC detention centre.

Morteza Mashoodkari was not present when the agents came to his home, but was told today to submit himself to the authorities and, having presented himself at the General Court of Gilan Province, told to return tomorrow.*

Behnam and Babak were released from detention this afternoon, but Ahmad and Ayoob remain detained in an unknown location and it is feared they may now face fresh charges.

Behnam and Babak are already facing charges of “propaganda against the state”, given to them in February – just two weeks after they were among nine converts acquitted of “acting against national security” by “promoting Zionist Christianity”.

Ahmad, Morteza and Ayoob, meanwhile, were sentenced last month under the amended Article 500 of the penal code to five years in prison for “engaging in propaganda and education of deviant beliefs contrary to the holy Sharia” and “connections with foreign leaders”….

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