Eight Christians in Iran sentenced to years in prison comment (0)
August 8, 2013
TEHRAN — Eight Iranian Christians were charged with “action against the national security” and “propaganda against the system” recently after being arrested in a raid of an evening prayer service. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said July 18 that the eight members of the Church of Iran were sentenced in Shiraz, more than 500 miles south of Tehran, after being arrested in the fall of 2012.
Mohammad Roghangir was sentenced to six years in prison; Massoud Rezaie to five years. Mehdi Ameruni and Bijan Farokhpour Haghighi were sentenced to three years. Shahin Lahooti and Suroush Saraie were sentenced to two-and-half years and Eskandar Rezaie and Roxana Forughi to one year in prison. “It is both disappointing and deplorable that the Iranian regime persists in detaining religious minorities on political charges as has occurred, once again, in this case,” CSW’s Mervyn Thomas said.
Iranian Christian leaders denied that the eight had any involvement in politically subversive activity. CSW press officer Kiri Kankhwende said little has changed in terms of religious freedom for non-Muslims in Iran since the election in June of the country’s supposedly more moderate president, Hassan Rouhani.
The eight Christians earlier were given enormous bail terms meant to cause severe financial hardships as punishment, CSW said. The bail amounts ranged between $80,000 and $200,000.