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ICC Note:
Four Iranian Christians who were arrested in December 2011 for “converting to Christianity” and “inviting Muslims to convert”, among other charges, were given a four year prison sentence on October 15 at a trial in Ahwaz, Mohabat News reports. Other Christians arrested at the same time are awaiting their trial. In this article, Mohabat News recounts the raid on the Assembly of God church in Ahwaz and details the trail of the four believers.
10/28/2012 Iran (Mohabat News) — The initial trial of an AOG church pastor and three ministers of the church was held, while other Christian believers in other cities of Iran await their trial.
According to Mohabat News reporters, court session for four Christian converts was held in Ahwaz.
The official trial of four Christian converts was held on October 15, 2012 at Branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court in Ahwaz. The court was chaired by the judge Seyyed Mohammad Bagher Mousavi.
The four Christians who had been arrested on December 23, 2011 are: the pastor of the AOG church of Ahwaz, Farhad Sabokrouh and his wife, Shahnaz Jeizan together with two other church ministers, Naser Zamen Dezfuli and Davoud Alijani (Also known as David).
The reports received at Mohabat News indicate that in the first day of the trial, referring to the article 500 of the Islamic penal codes the judge announced these four Christian converts guilty and sentenced each of them to one year in prison, totally four years for all.
The Revolutionary Court announced their charges as “Converting to Christianity, inviting Muslims to convert, as well as propagating against the Islamic regime through promoting Evangelical Christianity”.
The article 500 of the Islamic penal code mentions, “Anyone who propagates against the Islamic Republic or in interest of groups and organizations opposing the Islamic regime in any ways may be sentenced to three months to one year in prison.”
Also, the two-page petition issued by the court says that the belongings of these Christians that are referred to as “the means of committing crime” may be confiscated.
It is worthy to mention that as part of searching these Christians’ homes, security authorities confiscated their personal belongings including their computers, books, cellphones, DVDs as well as sound equipment and music instruments used at the church.
The prison term for these Christians has been issued by an initial court. This gives these Christians a chance to appeal. If they do, an appeal court will be held and final verdict will be issued by that court.
The trial of pastor of the AOG church in Ahwaz as well as other members of this church was held while trial of five other Christian converts had been held in Shiraz some days ago.
According to received reports, Pastor Farhad Sabokrouh is denied the right to hold any kind of church service or visit Christians in Ahwaz since his temporary release on bail. Also, authorities have told him to leave his hometown, Ahwaz. The pastor and his family are somehow exiled to Tehran. As an official pastor, he has no right to get involved in any kind of church activities or serve other Christians.

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