On Sunday, May 8, 2022, IRGC intelligence agents arrested four Christian converts, Behnam Akhlaghi, Babak Hossein-Zadeh, Ayoub Pourreza-Zadeh, and Ahmad Sarparast in Rasht City, and transferred them to an unidentified location. Security agents’ attempt to arrest Morteza Hajeb Mashhoud failed as he was not at his home.

According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on Sunday, May 8, 2022, four Christian converts were arrested by IRGC intelligence agents in Rasht.

Attorney Iman Soleimani told HRANA, “the authorities informed Mr. Hajeb Mashhoud that he would be arrested if he failed to come to the IRGC Intelligence’s Office. When he appeared at the office, he found out that a new legal case had been opened against all the individuals.”

Behnam Akhlaghi, Babak Hossein-Zadeh had faced other arrests and convictions. Earlier, Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced them to five years imprisonment on the charge of “acting against national security and promotion of Evangelical Christianity and Zionism”. In March of 2022, the Branch 34 of the Court of Appeals acquitted them of the charges.

In April of 2022, Ahmad Sarparast, Ayoub Pourrezazadeh and Morteza Hajeb Mashhood-Kari were sentenced to five years imprisonment on the charges of “holding home church services, propaganda against the regime, association with Zionism and Branhamist sect”. They have also been fined in the amount of 18 million tomans. On May 23 of this year, Branch 18 of the Court of Appeal of Gilan Province will hold the first session to re-examine their case in coming May.

Despite the fact that Christians are recognized as a religious minority under Iranian law, security forces harass and prosecute Muslims who convert to Christianity.

The prosecution of Christian converts stands in blatant violation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which state that every individual has the right to freedom of religion and belief and freedom to express it openly or secretly.

Source » en-hrana