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Christian Artist Released After 136 Days in Prison
ICC Note:
Vahid Zarday was temporarily released from prison on Tuesday after spending 136 days behind bars for his Christian activities, Mohabat News reports. In spite of Vahid’s release, there are still as many as 25 Christians currently imprisoned in Iran, including seven that were arrested after their church was raided in Shiraz on Friday. Vahid described his imprisonment as “hell on earth.” He is scheduled to reappear in court in the coming weeks.
10/14/2012 Iran (Mohabat News)- These days in Iran, the media is clogged with news on the Supreme Leader’s autumn trip to Khorasan Province. Government media give news on this trip and Ali Khamenei’s speeches from morning to night. On the other side of the coin, however, is another story.
As Ali Khamenei, the Iranian Supreme Leader, travels around Khorasan Province, Vahid Zarday was temporarily released from prison on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 in Mashhad, the birthplace of the Supreme Leader.
The Christian convert spent 136 days in the notorious Vakil-Abad prison where he was subjected to interrogation. According to the latest reports, he has been temporarily released and now awaits his trial to take place.
Mr. Zarday was arrested by security authorities on May 26, 2012 as he gathered with his wife and other Christian converts in a house church to study the Bible and pray. He had been transferred to Vakil-Abad prison, immediately after his arrest.
According to news published by Human Rights activists, Vakil-Abad prison is described as “hell on the earth”. The prison is also “very crowded, hygiene is poor, inmates are humiliated and group executions are conducted”.
Security authorities had also arrested Mr. Zarday in 2007 together with his other Christian friends because of their faith.
Mr. Zarday graduated in Music from Sooreh University in Tehran and is a Christian artist. In producing his material, he has collaborated with some famous Iranian artists in several domestic art festivals, including those for theater and has received awards as a music composer.
– The problem in spreading the news; Christian families threatened
Since the Islamic Republic and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence pressure families of prisoners to prevent them from publicizing their loved one’s case, we have no information about the circumstances under which he was released, how much bail was required to secure his release or what kind of court issued his release order. Restrictions and the lack of a free flow of information is to the extent that many incidents remain untold in situations of this kind. However, Mohabat News is making every effort to report violations of Christians’ rights in Iran through its news team in different cities of Iran, and to make them available to Christian Rights organizations and Human Rights activists.

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