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06/30/2022 Iran (International Christian Concern) – Recently, the five-year prison sentences of three Christian house-church members in Iran were upheld. These three Christians, Ahmad Sarparast, Morteza Mashoodkari, and Ayoob Poor-Rezazadeh, are condemned to their impending time in prison for “engaging in propaganda and education of deviant beliefs contrary to the holy Sharia.” The three Christian men were originally arrested in September 2021, ripped from the middle of a church prayer meeting at 10 o’clock at night. After they first received their five-year prison sentences, they immediately began the appeal process.

During the legal proceedings, the three managed to secure their temporary releases on bail. Last month, though, the three were re-arrested prior to the conclusion of their appeals. Commenting on the unjust treatment of the three Christians, the lawyer representing the three men commented on the case overall, “No attention was paid to the defense, or to the fact that these clients, with no criminal records and young families, were re-arrested before the outcome of their appeal, without committing a crime, and are currently being held in solitary confinement.”

The three Christians were reportedly told that their re-arrest was due to their continuation of religious activities, warranting consideration of “their actions in private.” Private inquisitions like this are commonly undertaken against Christians in Iran, despite the fact that such investigations of a person’s beliefs are prohibited in the Iranian constitution. Last week, Iran’s High Council for Human Rights dubiously claimed that “no one is prosecuted in Iran for merely holding an opinion or belonging to a particular class or group”—that is exactly the kind of prosecution that has condemned these three Christians to five years in prison.

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