Religious issues and persecution – Monthly Digest June


‘Illegal Christian activities’: Iran sentences tourist to 10 years in prison for possessing New Testament

Christian post – (27.06.2024) – An Armenian citizen has been sentenced to a decade in prison in Iran under accusations of proselytizing, which is considered illegal under the country’s strict religious laws.

His conviction was not based on evidence but on the judge’s “personal intuition,” per the Islamic Penal Code of Iran, which permits judicial decisions on mere suppositions of criminal activities.

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Eight Christians sentenced to combined 45 years in prison

Article 18 (18.06.2024) – Eight Iranian Christian converts have been sentenced to a combined total of nearly 45 years in prison.

The eight, who are from the western city of Izeh, were among the at least 46 Iranian Christians arrested over the Christmas period, though until this moment it has not been possible to identify them.

Even now, there is little information about most of the Christians, aside from the one who received the stiffest sentence – a man named Yasin Mousavi, who was given 15 years in prison.

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Concern for Christian convert after two weeks’ detention in unknown location

Article 18 (12.06.2024) – A Christian convert arrested last month remains in detention in an unknown location, as his wife and two daughters grow increasingly concerned.

Farrokh Kakaei, who will celebrate his 55th birthday later this month, was arrested at his home in Karaj on 26 May by four plainclothes officers of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence, before being taken away to an unknown location.

It is also unknown whether Farrokh has received any formal or informal charges, but the arresting agents confiscated a framed image of Jesus, alongside his laptop, mobile phone, and computer hard-drive.

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Armenian Christian given 10-year sentence ‘on judge’s intuition’

Article 18 (11.06.2024) – An Armenian Christian has been condemned to 10 years in prison in Iran despite his lawyer arguing that the case against him was so weak that the judge was forced to use a penal code provision enabling him to use his “intuition”.

Hakop Gochumyan, who has been detained since his arrest last summer, has been convicted of “engaging in deviant proselytising activity that contradicts the sacred law of Islam” through alleged membership and leadership of “a network of evangelical Christianity”.

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Christian convert sentenced to five years in prison

Article 18 (10.06.2024) – A Christian convert who was detained for over four months following his arrest on Christmas Eve has been sentenced to five years in prison for “acting against national security by communicating with Christian ‘Zionist’ organisations”.

Esmaeil Narimanpour, who was previously forced to undergo religious “re-education”, was sentenced on 28 May at the third branch of the Revolutionary Court in Ahvaz, western Iran, by Judge Mehdi Fathinia, according to the Persian-language website Mohabat News.

The 37-year-old, who has 20 days to appeal, was one of nearly 50 Christians arrested over the Christmas period in a new rash of arrests.

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Baha’i Arash Nabavi sentenced to imprisonment and additional punishments

Iran Press Watch (24.05.2024) – Arash Nabavi, a Baha’i citizen residing in Isfahan, has been sentenced by the Revolutionary Court of this city to ten years of imprisonment, a fine, confiscation of property, and other penalties.

Based on a verdict issued by Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Isfahan, presided over by Mohammadreza Tavakoli, and communicated to Mr. Nabavi, he has been sentenced to five years of imprisonment and a fine for the charge of “membership in groups to disrupt national security.” Additionally, for the charge of “propaganda activities against Islamic law”, he has been sentenced to another five years of imprisonment. As supplementary punishment, he has also been sentenced to a two-year ban on online acitvities, prohibition from leaving the country, and confiscation of property.

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Two Baha’i citizens sentenced to ten years imprisonment and monetary fines

Iran Press Watch (21.06.2024) – Two Baha’i citizens, Hamid Monzavi and Arshia Rouhani, residents of Isfahan, have each been sentenced to five years of imprisonment by the judicial system of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

According to a report received by the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, on Saturday, June 9, 2024, Hamid Monzavi and Arshia Rouhani, residents of Isfahan, were sentenced by the First Branch of the Revolutionary Court of this city, presided over by Judge Mohammad Reza Tavakoli, for the charges of “propaganda in favor of groups opposed to the regime,” “propaganda activities against the government,” and “membership in certain groups with the intention of disturbing national security.” Each was sentenced to five years of imprisonment and a fine of 50 million tomans.

It is noteworthy that on September 12, 2023, security forces raided and sealed two business units belonging to these two Baha’i citizens, as well as rip searched and confiscated some of their personal belongings


Appellate Court confirms sentences for three Baha’i women in Shiraz

Iran Press Watch (15.06.2024) – A source close to the families of the women informed HRANA that on June 5, Branch 37 of the Appellate Court, led by Judge Kamran Zareh, upheld the convictions. The charges include “assembly and collusion against national security” and “propaganda against the regime.” The women are sentenced to five years of house arrest, during which they must wear ankle monitors and are restricted to a 1-kilometer radius around their homes. Furthermore, they face a 15-year ban on social services, a two-year travel ban, and a two-year restriction on online activities.

In September 2023, the Ministry of Intelligence arrested these women along with another Baha’i woman, Bahraeh Ghaderi, in Shiraz. They were subsequently released on bail from Adelabad Prison, pending the outcome of their legal proceedings.

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Investigating the legal aspects of the confiscation and destruction of Baha’i farmlands in the village of Ahmadabad

Iran Press Watch (13.06.2024) – On Thursday, May 30, 2024, the Baha’i International Community published shocking images of the destruction of the farmlands of Baha’is in the village of Ahmadabad in Mazandaran. These videos and photos, which showed the raid by a significant number of government agents and the destruction of agricultural fields belonging to the Baha’is and their crops with an excavator, were quickly reflected in the media and became news headlines.

In a statement, the Baha’i International Community described this raid, which took place on May 28, 2024, as “destructive and cruel” and emphasized that the Baha’i residents of this region have been the owners of and have been farming these lands for many generations.

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Baha’i adherent arrested by Iranian security forces 

Iran Press Watch (12.06.2024) – Tahereh Norouzi, a Baha’i adherent residing in Shiraz, Fars Province, has been arrested by security forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran and transferred to an undisclosed location.

According to a report received by the Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, on June 9, 2024, the security forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran arrested Tahereh Norouzi, a Baha’i adherent and mother of two children.

Trusted sources indicate that during this arrest, the security forces searched this individual’s private residence and confiscated some of her personal belongings, including a computer and a mobile phone.

As of the release date of this report, there is no precise information available regarding the reasons for this arrest, this individual’s whereabouts, or the attributed charges against her.


Jailed Baha’i man faces new charge

Iran Press watch (12.06.2024) – Payam Vali, a Baha’i citizen imprisoned in Iran’s Karaj Central Prison, was summoned to the Karaj Revolutionary Court on June 6 to face a new charge of “spreading falsehoods.”


The court date coincided with the anniversary of the 1990 killing of Payam’s teenage brother Afshin.

In June of that year, Afshin Vali was thrown into a well and murdered by two youths in Nazarabad village. They were incited by the religious fervor stoked against Baha’is by the local mosque’s Imam.

Payam Vali, 42, was arrested at his workplace in Karaj on September 24, 2022, amid the Mahsa Amini protests sweeping the nation.


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