Hakop and Elissa were then placed in solitary confinement in the notorious Ward 209 of Evin Prison, which is under the control of the Ministry of Intelligence, and subjected to intense psychological torture and back-to-back interrogation sessions, each lasting between two to five hours.
An Iranian-Armenian couple has been arrested and detained in Evin Prison during a visit to the woman’s family, with no official charges.
Hakop Gochumyan, 35, an Armenian citizen, was visiting Iran with his wife Elissa, who is an Iranian-Armenian, and their two children when they were arrested by Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence agents on August 15, in Pardis, just outside Tehran.
The couple and their children, who are aged seven and 10, were having dinner at a friend’s home when a dozen plainclothes agents of the Ministry of Intelligence raided the property.
The agents confiscated their personal belongings, including some Christian books, then placed them in solitary confinement in the notorious Ward 209 of Evin Prison, which is under the control of the Ministry of Intelligence, and subjected them to intense psychological torture and back-to-back interrogation sessions, each lasting between two to five hours.
After over two months in detention, Elissa was released on bail equivalent to $40,000 on 19 October, after which she returned to Armenia to be reunited with her children, who had returned home in September with a relative.
Elissa’s bail had initially been set at $100,000, but her family protested that they could not afford the amount, and it was reduced by half.
Her husband, Hakop Gochumyan, remains detained in Evin, exceeding four months since their initial arrest during their visit to Iran with their two children.
Neither Hakop nor Elissa were informed of any official charges against them, in violation of Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Iran has ratified without reservation, according to Article18.
Iran’s intelligence agents had accused Elissa of engaging in “illegal Christian activities.”
Elissa is the daughter of a well-known Iranian-Armenian pastor, Rafi Shahverdian, who passed away earlier this year, having led a church in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, since leaving Iran in 1993.