Iran persecution: Three former Muslims become Christians sentenced to prison under new law

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Three former Muslims in Iran are the first Christians to be given prison sentences under Article 500, a new amendment to Iran’s penal code that aims to block the spread of the Gospel in the country, Morning Star News reports. Iran ranks 8 on the US Open Doors Watch List of countries that persecute Christians.

After refusing to renounce Christ, on June 26 former Muslims Amin Khaki, Milad Goudarzi, and Alireza Nourmohammad were sentenced to the maximum five-year jail term provided under the new amendment, MSN reports. In sharing the Gospel, the men were charged under Article 500 with spreading “deviant education or propaganda that contradicts or interferes with the sacred Sharia [Islamic law].”

Article 500 was signed into law by former President Hassan Rouhani on February 18, and took effect on March 5. In addition to extending prison sentences, the amendment allows the state to deny citizens basic rights, such as the right to vote, for up to 15 years, MSN said.

Rights groups are concerned Article 500 will be used against dissidents and minority groups - not least because Iran’s new president Ebrahim Raisi is ultraconservative and follows a hard line on upholding Islamic values, MSN said.

Iran's Islamic regime considers the conversion of Muslims to Christianity as “an attempt by Western countries to undermine the Islamic rule of Iran,” US Open Doors explains on their website. Former Muslims who put their faith in Christ are the most persecuted in the country.