Iranian Christians ask for prayer after an appeal verdict for three Christian converts from Rasht who were serving ten-year sentences.
On 22 June it was learned the sentences against Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, and Zaman (Saheb) Fadaie had been reduced to six years. Mohammadreza (Yuhan) Omidi’s sentence has been reduced to two years and he is expected to be eligible for release in July. The decision regarding the fourth church member, Yasser Mossayebzadeh, who was arrested and convicted at the same time, is not known.
Pastor Yousef was arrested with his wife Tina, as well as Saheb, Yuhan and Yasser in Rasht in 2016. Following a June 2017 hearing each of the four men was given a 10-year prison sentence for “acting against the national security through propagating house churches and promoting Zionist Christianity.” Yousef and Yuhan were also sentenced to two years’ internal exile in the south of the country.
An initial appeal in May 2018 upheld the sentences, but a further review took place in May 2020 and, as announced today, reduced the sentences. It is reported that legal avenues for a further appeal are being explored.
Friends of the Christian converts are delighted that Yuhan is likely to be released soon and although pleased that Yousef and Saheb’s sentences have been reduced, wish that they had been acquitted of all charges related to the peaceful exercise of their faith.
Iranian Christians request prayer that:
- The men and their families will be encouraged by the reduction in the sentences
- Further review would be possible to overturn the sentences completely
- Christian converts, alongside all other religious minorities, will not be oppressed by the authorities on account of their faith and practice