By BosNewsLife Middle East Service
TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– A Christian convert remained in an Iranian jail Wednesday, February 29, after being sentenced to three years imprisonment for his Christian activities, trial observers said.
Masoud Delijani, was reportedly sentenced by the Revolutionary Court of Kermanshah province on charges that included “having faith in Christianity”, “holding illegal house church gatherings” as well as “evangelizing Muslims” and unspecified action against Iran’s national security.
He was allegedly not given the chance to defend himself against the charges. Mohabat News, a news agency of Iranian Christians and rights activists, said it was concerned over the plight of Diljani’s family.
His “wife and family” are “not in a good mental state knowing he should remain in prison for three years. Received report indicates that his wife is only allowed to visit him every two or three weeks” looking “from behind a glass and [speaking] through the intercom” sound system, the agency said.
Delijani, a school teacher in the area, is being held in Deizal-Abad prison of the city of Kermanshah, some 526 kilometers west of the capital Tehran, Iranian Christians said.
He was reportedly detained by plain clothes intelligence officers on March 17, 2011, along with his wife and nine other Christian converts during a worship service in a house church.
After 114 days in custody, mainly in solitary confinement, he was briefly released in July last year, after his family was forced to pay $100,000 bail in local currency only to be detained again two weeks later, Iranian Christians said.
Mohabat News said the detention is part of a wider crackdown on Christians in Kermanshah and other cities, which began at Christmas 2010. Some were later released after signing “a disclaimer” letter, Christians said.
The agency claimed to have seen a letter classified as secret, the police forces of Kermanshah called on the head of the trade council of the province to collaborate with police in identifying religious minorities active in different businesses and send their names, addresses and the phone number of their workplaces to them.
In another incident in Kermanshah, authorities closed one of three Assyrian churches of Iran on January 2, 2010 for allegedly promoting Christianity among Farsi-speaking Muslims and preaching the Gospel, Iranian Christians said.
Iran’s government had no known comment about the latest developments in the city, but officials have consistently denied wrongdoing saying they defend Islamic values and that those jailed are violating the laws of the land.
Christians, among them many former Muslims, are known to be held behind bars in several prisons of Iran.