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ICC Note:  The mass protests in Iran earlier this year sparked hope among many Christians that, maybe this time, positive change may come to their country. Today, Christians continue to be harassed, imprisoned, and tortured for no other reason than their faith. Many Christians have been incarcerated at Evin Prison, Iran’s “torture factory”. They report that the experience has forever changed them.

03/03/2018 Iran (World Watch Monitor) –   There was hope among Iranian Christians that the mass protests earlier this year could effect change for them, but they continue to be harassed and imprisoned on spurious charges.

An Iranian convert to Christianity, Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh, who recently lost his appeal against a 10-year sentence for “missionary activities”, was reportedly moved to the infamous Evin Prison in Tehran two weeks ago – the same prison where two other Christians, Majidreza Souzanchi Kushani and Fatimeh Mohammadi (both members of the self-styled “Church of Iran”), have also been held since their arrest on 17 November last year.

According to the advocacy group Middle East Concern, Kushani was charged with “disrupting national security” by being a member of an evangelical Christian group, for which he could receive a prison sentence of between two and ten years.

It remains unclear on what grounds Mohammadi is being held, in the women’s ward of the infamous prison referred to by two other Christian women who spent eight months there as the “the world’s most brutal prison”.

Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh, speaking in November, said they experienced relentless interrogation and physical threats during their time in the prison in 2009/10.

It has been eight years since their release, but Rostampour said: “When people experience living in Evin Prison they will never be the same again. The stress is too much. We can’t be the same people. We can’t be as happy as before. We don’t enjoy activities like normal people because all the time we think of those who are still there.”

Another Christian who recently spent time in the prison was Saman*. Saman, a convert from Islam to Christianity, was arrested in 2016 and imprisoned in Evin for 44 days because of activities related to his Christian faith.

He says the time following his release was also difficult, as the authorities kept an eye on him to ensure he wouldn’t visit other Christians or attend a church meeting. He says he was traumatised but did not receive the support he needed.

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