Detained Rasht Christians Receive Some Respite

03/20/2019 Iran (International Christian Concern) –  Six members of the Church of Iran have been released over a period beginning on March 16th, with a seventh member expected to have been released yesterday. Each of these members are from the city of Rasht, and most paid a bail of 150 million Toman ($12,000).

The names of the released members are: Hossein Kadivar, Babak Hosseinzadeh, Behnam Akhlaghi, Kamal Naamanian, Mohammed Vafada, and Khalil Dehkanpour. The name of the member expected to have been released is Mehdi Khatibi. All are expecting a court summons to face charges, although the nature of these charges are not known. Their pastor, Matias Hagnejad, and another member, Shahrooz Eslamdous, remain detained. The pastor is facing charges of acting against national security and promoting Zionist Christianity.

The regime has recently increased its focus on Christians living in the city of Rasht. The recent wave of detainments sets a new precedent, as it is the heaviest wave of publically known arrests within the last three years. Historically, Christians from Rasht have received some of the heaviest sentences known in the country.

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