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ICC Note:

Hadi Asgari, an Iranian Christian convert, has now spent more than a year in prison and is still waiting for his appeal. He has been sentenced to ten years in prison on the charge of “acting against national security by organizing and creating house churches.” Hadi was originally arrested in August 2016 at a picnic alongside several other Christians, but all except Hadi have subsequently been released on bail. Iranian law prohibits citizens from converting from Islam to a different religion. Conversion to Christianity presents a number of dangerous risks to Christians, forcing many to worship and practice their faith underground.

09/07/2017 Iran (Mohabat News) – It has been more than a year now that “Hadi Asgari”, the converted Christian is in Evin prison and he is still waiting for his appeal court.

As reported by “Mohabat News”, the sentences of two converted Christians were announced by Judge Ahmadzadeh in the 26th branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran on July 3, 2017. “Hadi Asgari” was sentenced to 10 years prison and “Amin Afshar Naderi” was sentenced to 15 years prison of which 5 years were added sentence for “blasphemy”.

By the end of July 2017 “Amin Afshar Naderi” was released, submitting a bail worth of 270 million tomans, only after his health condition severely deteriorated due to his long hunger strike in order to show his objections against the charges.

Now “Hadi Asgari” is the only prisoner remaining from the Firuzkuh case who is still in jail.

Tehran Police attacked a private garden in Firuzkuh area near Tehran on August 26th, 2016 and arrested 17 Christian citizens among which “Ramyyl Bat Temerz”, “Amin Afshar Naderi”, “Hadi Asgari”, “Mohammad Dehnavi” and “Amir Saman Dashti” who were transferred to Evin Prison.

A group of these prisoners was released on bail while Amin Afshar Naderi and Hadi Asgari’s status remained uncertain for months while they were kept in custody. They were interrogated many times during this period and still their charges were not announced. Until when they went on a hunger strike in January 2017 to show their objections against this uncertainty.

Bakhtiari, the head of Attorney General’s office and Kheir-o-Din the deputy Attorney General had a visit to Evin prison on February 14, 2017, during which they promised to review a few prisoners’ cases whose charges were classified as the national security risks, political, and prisoners of conscience. Among them were Hadi Asgari and Amin Afshar Naderi who were kept in the 4th ward of Evin prison.

Eventually, their cases were sent to the 26th branch of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran after 8 months of uncertainty.

These two prisoners were accused of and charged for hosting house churches in Firuzkuh area on Saturday, April 8 in 26th branch of the Revolutionary court headed by Judge Ahmadzadeh.

The court session of these two converted Christians was held on Saturday, June 11, 2017. Along with their prison terms they were banned to leave the country for two years after serving their sentences.

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