House Church Members in Iran Sentenced to Year in Prison

A convert from Islam in Iran said he and 11 other ‘House Church’ Christians were sentenced to a year in prison for “inclination to the land of Christianity” among other charges, according to Mohabat News, as cited in a report by Morning Star News.

“Interrogations were obviously indicating that they were looking for confession to communications with [those] abroad, especially America, Britain and Israel,” the Christian, identified as Payam Kharaman, told Mohabat, which focuses on human rights abuses in Iran, in the report obtained by ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)

In that report, Mohabat stated last week that Kharaman and 11 other members of a church in Bushehr, a port city in southwestern Iran, were sentenced to one year in prison on charges of “propaganda activities against the system and in favor of Zionist Christianity through holding house meetings, evangelism, and invitation to Christianity and inclination to the land of Christianity.”

Mohabat reported Kharaman and the other Christians were jailed for three years following their arrest on April 7, 2015, obtaining bail only last April, according to news outlet.

The agency said Judge Abbas Asgari of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Bushehr issued the sentence earlier this year, saying the accused would be informed last June 20, according to the verdict.

Kharaman told Mohabat News that authorities began pressuring him in early 2012.

“I was repeatedly summoned by the Office of Police Monitor Public Place in Bushehr and interrogated about evangelism and communication with abroad, and I always insisted on the belief in Christianity for myself and not for promotion of Christianity,” he told Mohabat. “Because I had a boutique shop in Bushehr, a number of officers’ family members in the office knew me and informed of heavy sentences against me, and the case which was under investigation by the intelligence office.”

He said he took their statements as empty threats at the time.

On April 7, 2015, three plain-clothes security agents came to his house with a warrant shortly after 8 a.m. and seized his computer, mobile phone, flash drive, CDs, books and pamphlets and a private photo album, he told Mohabat. They took him to the intelligence office of Bushehr and interrogated him all day, he said.

Among those sentenced along with Kharaman was Shapour Jozi and his wife, Parastoo Zariftash.

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Source: Assist News