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Iranian Christian told to go into internal exile

by Cara Bentley

An Iranian Christian has been informed by his lawyer he will have to serve two years in internal exile. 

Mohammadreza Omidi was released from prison on 18th August after being arrested in 2016 during a series of raids on Christian homes in the city of Rasht, in which Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani and two others were also detained. 

All four men received ten year sentences on national security charges, which were reduced to two years by appeal in June 2020.

Mr Omidi completed his reduced 24-month sentence in July 2020, and was released. However, both he and Pastor Nadarkhani had also been sentenced to an additional two years in internal exile.  

Omidi is expected to serve the sentence in Borazjan, in the south of Iran, but details regarding the condition of his internal exile remain unclear.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide's founder and president Mervyn Thomas said: "We are saddened to learn that Mr Omidi may be separated from his family once again after having completed a 24-month unjust sentence. 

"We also call on Iran to ensure the release of every prisoner of conscience, to end its criminalisation of Christian practices, and to facilitate the full enjoyment of freedom of religion or belief by every religious community, in line with the constitution and international legislation to which the nation is party."

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