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World News

Court upholds sentence of Christian pair jailed for 'spreading propaganda against the regime'

by Eno Adeogun

Saheb Fadaie and Fatemeh Bakhteri were sentenced to 18 months and twelve months respectively on 22nd September 2018. Fadaie also received an additional two years in exile in Nehbandan - a remote area near to the border with Afghanistan.

They were accused of attacking Islam by discussing Christian doctrine in house churches.


It later emerged that during their final appeal hearing in January, the pair refused to renounce their faith after being asked to do so by the two presiding judges - who have both previously been accused of involvement in human rights violations.

Fadaie is already serving a ten-year sentence in Tehran's Evin prison, following his arrest along with fellow members of the Church of Iran denomination, Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, Mr Mohammadreza Omidi and Mr Yasser Mossayebzadeh on 13th May 2016.

There has been a rise in recent years of raids by security agents on Christian homes in the city of Rasht.


Christian Solidarity Worldwide's (CSW) chief executive Mervyn Thomas said: "These sentences constitute a grave violation of Iran's constitutional and international legal obligations, and are illustrative of the heightened campaign of repression that has seen Christians receiving excessive charges and sentences merely for manifesting their religion in private and in community with others.

"Many more are being punished for adopting a religion of their choice, which is protected under Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is party.

"Moreover, the effective designation of Christian doctrine as an attack on Islam amounts to the criminalisation of the Christian faith.

"CSW urges the Iranian authorities to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of Saheb Fadaie, Fatemeh Bakhteri, and all who have been arrested or imprisoned unjustly, and to end the harassment of peaceable religious communities."

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