Iranian Christians request prayer for three Christian converts who have each received five-year prison sentences.
On 26 June, Amin Khaki, Milad Goudarzi and Alireza Nourmohammadi were informed they have each been given the maximum prison sentence for “propaganda that educates in a deviant way contrary to the holy religion of Islam” and fined 40 million tomans (approx. US$1600).
The three men have twenty days to appeal the verdict.
The sentence is based on the recently amended Article 500 of the penal code, which states that those found guilty “will be severely punished.” It allows prison sentences of between two and five years; deprivation of civil rights, such as voting, for up to 15 years, and heavy fines.
On 11 November 2020, Iranian intelligence agents raided the homes of Amin, Milad and Alireza (and several other converts), confiscating Bibles, cell phones and computers. No-one was arrested at that time, but the converts continued to face harassment and were ordered to abstain from Christian activities (they all refused to comply).
At the hearing on 21 June, Judge Mehdi Zeinali prevented the defendants’ lawyer from attending the trial, claiming he had not been registered as their lawyer. The defendants had to represent themselves in a hearing that lasted less than an hour.
Iranian Christians request prayer that:
- The Lord will strengthen and encourage Amin, Milad and Alireza as they face these unjust verdicts and grant them and their families the “peace that surpasses all understanding.”
- Amin, Milad and Alireza will be able to successfully appeal the verdict against them.
- Iranian authorities will stop violating international law by persecuting religious minorities peacefully practising their faith.