Four Christians facing 10-year prison sentences in Iran on the charges of promoting “Zionist Christianity” and acting against national security, including a pastor who was formerly sentenced to death, have had their sentences upheld.
Persecution watchdog group Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported on Wednesday that it has confirmation of the verdict by Iranian authorities delivered in Rasht last week.
Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, Mohammadreza Omidi (Youhan), Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Saheb Fadaie, the four Christians who have now lost their appeals, were initially arrested in May 2016 after government agents carried out a number of raids on Christians’ homes in the city.
Beside the 10-year prison sentences, also based on the conviction that their church received money from the British government, Nadarkhani and Omidi could face a further two-year imprisonment.
Omidi, Mossayebzadeh and Fadaie have also been sentenced to receive 80 lashes each for drinking wine during a communion service, though they have appealed.
“The charges leveled against these men are spurious and their sentences are excessive, amounting to a criminalization of Christian practice. We call for an annulment of these sentences,” said CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas.
“The international community must press the government of Iran to uphold its constitutional and international obligation to ensure the full enjoyment of the right to freedom religion or belief for all of its citizens, regardless of their creed.”
Nadarkhani has been arrested and released on several occasions in the past, all connected to his practicing and preaching of the Christian faith.
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Source: Christian Post