Iranian Christians request prayer for Christian converts Ayoub Poor-Rezazade, Morteza Mashhoodkari and Ahmad Sarparast, who have each been sentenced to five years in prison and fined for “deviant propaganda.”
Ayoub, Morteza and Ahmad were arrested by agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on 5 September 2021 in Rasht. The agents used force, behaved insultingly, and refused to show warrants. The three were detained in Lakan Prison and released later in September (Ayoub early in October) after each submitting bail of 400 million tomans (about US$15,000).
On 25 January they were formally charged with “engaging in propaganda and educational activities for deviant beliefs contrary to the holy Sharia” and “connections with foreign leaders” under Article 500 of the Penal Code. On 9 April a verdict was delivered by Branch 2 of Rasht Revolutionary Court with each defendant sentenced to five years in prison and fined 18 million tomans (about US$640). They are appealing the sentences.
According to Iranian rights organisation Article 18, the defendants’ lawyer, Mr. Soleimani, is critical of the judicial process, saying that the conviction was based only on the claims of the IRGC agents and that there was no legal justification for the sentences as his clients’ only “crime” had been to meet together for Christian prayer and worship.
Iranian Christians request prayer that:
- The Lord will encourage and comfort the men and their families
- The appeal will be successful and that it will be acknowledged that meeting together for Christian worship is not a crime