Iranian Court Denies Retrial Requests for Christian Converts
08/09/2022 Iran (International Christian Concern) – The Iranian Supreme Court has denied the retrial and release requests for Iranian Armenian Anooshavan Avedian, Christian convert Abbas Souri, and Christian convert Fariba Dalir. Courts rejected Avedian and Souri’s retrial requests without comment and did not review previous defense submissions. They were arrested in November 2020 after a raid that resulted in the confiscation of Bibles and cell phones. The two were part of a gathering of approximately 18 other Christians and were arrested along with Maryam Mohammadi.
In May 2022, Avedian was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “propaganda against Islam” while he, Souri and Mohammadi received a 10-year deprivation of social rights. A later appeal hearing upheld Avedian’s sentencing of 10 years in prison plus 10 years deprivation of social rights. The 10-year restriction was lifted for Souri and Mohammadi and the fines were reduced.
Mary Mohammadi received notification in July that her retrial request was denied, with courts stating that her lawyer did not provide any evidence not rejected by the appeal court. Lawyers objected to the court’s claim because the appeal court had not adequately reviewed the same evidence.
The third, recently denied request came from Fariba Dalir. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) arrested her, along with six other Christians, in July 2021. In November, the same judge from Avedian and Souri’s trial sentenced her to five years in prison, which was later adjusted to two years after a mistaken previous criminal history. Dalir began serving her sentence on April 16 and appealed for conditional release or temporary leave. The Iranian Supreme Court denied her request.
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