Iranian Christian granted conditional release from prison

November 20, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

Christian persecutionIran, November 19, 2014: Following an appeal from his family, Iranian Christian Homayoun Shokouhi was granted conditional release from prison on 10 November after serving two years and eight months of his sentence. In February 2012, he was accused of holding house-church meetings, evangelising, contacting foreign Christian ministry organisations, propagating against the Islamic regime, and disturbing national security.

After police raided a house-church meeting in Shiraz on 8 February 2012, Mr Shokouhi was arrested along with the rest of those who were present. Most of those arrested were released after 36 days, but he and three other men were each sentenced to three years and eight months in Adel-Abad prison. Two of the four still remain in prison, Mojtaba Seyyed Alaedin Hossein and Vahid Hakkani.

Mr Shokouhi’s wife, Fariba Nazemian, was also held in prison and released on 18 October 2012 with a bail payment of around US$200,000. Their 17-year old son was arrested and released on bail after 36 days upon payment of 100 million Tomans (around US$80,000).

Before their arrest in February 2012, Homayoun Shokouhi and Mojtaba Seyyed Alaedin Hossein had both been arrested in a house-church on 11 May 2008. Found guilty of converting to Christianity, they were given suspended prison sentences of between eight months and five years.

Iranian law permits prisoners to appeal for conditional release once they have served half of their sentence. This is a right which is granted to prisoners and is not considered a pardon.

A UN report states that as of January 2014, some 50 Christians were being held in detention in Iran out of 307 prisoners from various religious minorities. Christians are routinely persecuted in Iran, with house churches raided and arrests made. In court, Christians are awarded harsher sentences and bail payments are often extortionate.

– barnabas team

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