10/06/2021 Iran (International Christian Concern) – After missing for one month, Iranian Christian convert Ayoub Poor-Rezazadeh was released on a bail of 400 million tomans (around $15,000 USD) on October 3. Ayoub was arrested alongside Ahmad Sarparast and Morteza Mashoodkari on September 5 in Rasht, a city where the Christian community has faced a disproportionate amount of persecution.
Ahmad and Morteza were transferred to Lakan Prison on September 18 and released on the same bail amount on September 21. Following the release of the two Christian converts, concern for Ayoub’s well-being spread as the family had not communicated with him since September 8 and the two had not seen him since the day after their arrest.
Ayoub spent 10 days in custody of the Revolutionary Guard and later was transferred to solitary confinement in Lakan Prison. It is reported that he was originally separated from his friends for interrogation regarding church finances. Although no official charges have been levied against the three Christians, Ahmad and Morteza reported that officials referenced the harsh Articles 499 and 500 regarding “acting against national security”.
While in custody, the Christian converts were treated harshly, beaten and forced to listen to Quranic broadcasts for at least three hours every day. Families of the men were threatened by the Revolutionary Guard for publicizing their cases, with at least one family member and several house-church members summoned for questioning.
In another case of three Iranian Christian converts in Karaj, Milad Gourdazi, Amin Khaki and Alireza Nourmohammadi received a surprise notice that they will have another hearing on December 16. The three had their homes raided in November 2020 and faced charges according to Article 500 for “propaganda that educates in a deviant way contrary to the holy religion of Islam”. Originally sentenced to five years and a $1,500 USD fine, an August 25 appeal hearing reduced their sentencing to three years in prison. They have reportedly not yet been forced to begin their sentencing.
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