Iran persecution: Court reduces prison sentences of three Christians

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - A court in Iran has reduced the five-year prison sentences of three Iranian Christians who were appealing against their convictions for engaging in anti-Islamic propaganda, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports. Amin Khaki, Milad Goudarzi, and Alireza Nourmohammadi each saw their prison sentence reduced to three years, although their overall appeal was denied.

Members of the Church of Iran denomination, the three Christians were sentenced to five years in prison on 26 June. They had been on trial for “sectarian activities” under a new amendment to the Iranian Penal Code, CSW said.

In a statement about the reduction in sentence, CSW President Mervyn Thomas said: “While we welcome the reduction in the length of the sentences handed to Amin Khaki, Milad Goudarzi, and Alireza Nouromohammadi, we remain deeply concerned by the lack of due process in these cases.”

“CSW believes that the charges against these men are without basis, and we continue to call for their immediate and unconditional release. We urge Iran to ensure due process, judicial independence, and to cease equating peaceful adherence to minority faiths with threats to national security,” Thomas said.

Eight other members of the Church of Iran have also been sentenced to five years in prison - in their cases for “endangering state security” and “promoting Zionism.” Their sentences were upheld on 25 February 2020 without a hearing, after Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamanei reportedly allowed the judge to bypass court procedures, CSW reports.