Twelve Christians have been sentenced to jail by an Iranian court. Their only crime - worshipping God.

According to the Iranian Christian news agency Mohabat News, these believers - a Christian convert called Payam Kharaman and 11 other Christians - were arrested on Tuesday, April 7, 2015.

They were released on bail while their cases were under review until late April 2018. Their crimes included holding house worship meetings and evangelizing. They were also charged with “inclination to the land of Christianity.”

Religious persecution in Iran

Describing his arrest, Kharaman told Mohabat News: “On Tuesday, April 7, 2015, at around 8 A.M. - 8:30 A.M., 3 plain-clothed security agents came to the house, entered with a warrant, and rummaged throughout the house for 2 hours, and after inspection, seized computer case, mobile phone, flash memory, CDs, books and pamphlets and even private photo album, and transported me to the intelligence office of Bushehr near Bisim Avenue, and they started interrogating me from the first hours of my arrival in prison and continued until the evening of that day.”

Last week, an Iranian court sentenced them to prison for the previously cited “crimes” and “propaganda activities” that go against Islam, the main religion of the Shia Muslim-controlled system.

Reacting to the sentencing, Mansour Borji, the advocacy director for the human rights organization Article 18, said the charges are an “example of inquisition and the violation of the freedom of religion and belief.

“Security agencies, following an ineffective policy in recent years, have tried to eliminate Farsi-speaking Christianity through unlawful pressures and false accusations in revolutionary courts and seemingly legal route.”

Cases like these have made Iran the 10th-worst country in the world for Christians, according to Open Doors USA’s 2018 World Watch List.

Iran has also been listed as a “country of particular” concern by the U.S. State Department for abusing the religious freedom of Christians and other religious groups.

Source » pulse