Iran Sentences Christian Converts to Over 25 Years in Prison


Five converts to Christianity have been sentenced by the Iranian judiciary to a collective of more than 25 years in prison, according to a report from Iran International.

Hengaw, an organization reporting on human rights violations against Kurds in Iran, stated there has been no reason given for the charges against the five Christians.

Hamid Afzali was sentenced to 10 years behind bars, followed by Nasrollah Mousavi, Bijan Gholizadeh, and Iman Salehi, each of whom were sentenced to five years, and Zohrab Shahbazi, who received a nine-month jail sentence, The Jerusalem Post reported.

In a statement to CBN News, Todd Nettleton, vice president of message for the Voice of the Martyrs, said, “The growth of the church in Iran is wonderful news for Christians around the world, and a great reminder of God’s ability to grow His church in spite of anything that any government might do to stop it.”

“But the high price our Iranian brothers and sisters are paying to follow Christ is a different kind of reminder: to pray often for them as they willingly suffer for the name of Christ,” he added.

The report from Hengaw noted that, while Christians are “acknowledged as a religious minority in Iran, authorities impose severe penalties, especially on those who convert from Islam to Christianity.”

Iran’s decision to imprison the five Christian converts violates article 18 of the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states, “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice, and teaching.”

In addition to these five Christian arrests, Hengaw noted that another recent Christian convert in Iran, Yasin Mousavi, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for charges including “membership in groups or associations aimed at disrupting security” and “propaganda against the government through promoting Christianity.”

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