Iranian Christians request prayer, after seven converts in Bushehr were given prison sentences or fined. They plan to appeal.

Brothers Sam and Sasan Khosravi, their wives Maryam and Marjan Falahi, Habib Heydari, Pooriya Peyma and his wife Fatemeh Talebi were arrested on 1 July 2019. Sam and Sasan’s mother, Khatoon Fatolahzadeh, was also arrested, but released the same day due to her age.

Security agents raided their homes in a combined operation, confiscating personal belongings: laptops, phones and anything related to Christianity, including Bibles, literature and crosses.

The seven Christian converts were taken to the Iranian Intelligence (MOIS) office in Bushehr and placed in solitary confinement. They were denied access to lawyers and forced to make video confessions of their alleged crimes. They were released after two weeks, upon submitting bail of 300 million tomans (approx. US$25,000) each.

They were charged with “propaganda against the state” (Article 500 of the penal code), “collusion,” and “membership of a group hostile to the regime.”

At a December 2019 hearing they were acquitted of the two latter charges. However, in April 2020 they were convicted of the first charge. They received the verdict on 21 June. Their sentences are:

Sam and Sasan Khosravi: one year in prison each plus two years internal exile.

Maryam Falahi: Eight million toman fine (US$400) plus lifetime ban from working in the public sector (Maryam, a nurse, therefore effectively loses her job)

Marjan Falahi: Six million toman fine (US$300)

Habib Heydari: One year in prison

Pooriya Peyma: Ninety-one days in prison

Fatemeh Talebi: Four million toman fine (US$200)

The defendants have been given 20 days to file an appeal, which they intend to do.

Prayer Points

Friends of the Christian converts request prayer that:

  •   God will strengthen and encourage them despite the disappointment of the verdict
  •   The appeal will be effective
  •   The Iranian authorities will stop criminalizing Christian converts and other religious minorities

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