Iran Christians Lose Appeal Against Long Prison Terms

 

By BosNewsLife Middle East Service

christiansIranTEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)-- Six Christians remained behind bars in Iran's southwestern city of Shiraz Friday, November 8, after an appeals court upheld their sentences totalling 20 years of imprisonment for illegal Christian activities, trial observers said.

Christian men Mojtaba Seyyed Alaedin Hossein, Mohammad-Reza Partoei (Koroush), Vahid Hakkani and Homayoun Shokouhi were sentenced each to three years and eight months imprisonment on charges that included attending "a house-church, spreading Christianity and having contact with foreign ministries", according to Iranian Christians familiar with the case.

They were also reportedly accused of involvement in "propaganda against the regime and disrupting national security."

Fariba Nazemian and her son, Nima Shokouhi, each received two years of suspended sentences on similar charges, BosNewsLife learned.

Nazemian spent eight months in custody before being released on bail on October 18, 2012, said Mohabat News, an agency of Iranian Christians and activists.

SUSPENDED SENTENCE

"Her 17-year old son, Nima Shokouhi, was released after 36 days in custody and posting bail of 100 million Toman (then some $100,000 USD)," the agency added.

Additionally, Mojtaba Seyyed Alaedin Hossein and Homayoun Shokouhi also received an eight month suspended sentence each for other Christian activities.

Both men were earlier given five year suspended sentences when they and eight other Christians were detained for their faith in May, 2008, Mohabat News claimed.

The Christians were reportedly moved to the Ebrat ward of Adel-Abad which activists said has "the least facilities" in the prison complex and is used only for prisoners with similar charges.

Shiraz is the capital of Fars province and is home to numerous religious minorities, including Christian converts, Mohabat News said.

MASSIVE CRACKDOWN

Iranian Christians say authorities have launched a massive crackdown on non-Muslims in Shiraz and other cities in Iran.

Ahmad Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, has expressed concern about the situation.

In a recent report he noted that there are no signs of improvement as religious minorities face restrictions.

Shaheed reportedly said that at least 20 Christians were jailed in January 2013 alone.

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