Iranians Sentenced To Prison For Attempting to Help Christian Students Get Exemption from Islamic Studies
Last year, Iranian authorities denied Christian children the opportunity to separate religious education and charged two Christian leaders with acting against national security for issuing letters on behalf of the students seeking an exemption from Islamic education. On December 28th, these two men were sentenced to eight years in prison. This includes an extra one-year sentence for proselytizing. Their sentences come at a time when Iran is embroiled in wide spread protests against the regime. Many Christians are participating in these protests, hopeful that they will bring positive change and religious freedom to their country.
01/10/2018 Iran (MEC) – Iranian Christians request renewed prayer for Eskandar Rezaei and Soroush Saraei who were each sentenced on 28 December 2017 to eight years in prison.
Both Eskander and Soroush were charged with “acting against national security.” Soroush faced an additional charge of “forgery,” as the pastor of the Church of Shiraz, for issuing letters for students seeking exemption from Islamic studies classes. They attended a court hearing on 28 December 2017, at the 4th branch of the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz. Following the court hearing, Eskandar Rezaie and Soroush Saraie were each sentenced to 7 years in prison for “action against the National Security” and 1 year for proselytising and forming house meetings. They are appealing the sentences.
Eskandar was arrested on 6 July 2017, at his home in Lar, where several hundred New Testaments were confiscated. He was held at Quran Branch of Adel-Aabad prison in Shiraz. Soroush was also arrested in July. He was initially held at the intelligence offices before being transferred to Adel-Aabad prison. Soroush was released on bail of 350-million Toman (approximately USD 95,000) on 18 October 2017. Eskandar was released on bail of 500-million Toman (approximately USD 140,000) on 25 September 2017.
Both Eskander and Soroush were also detained after a previous arrest in October 2012, and were released in 2015.
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