Their Crime? Being House Church Members: Christian Couple Sentenced to Iran’s Notorious Evin Prison

When Iranian authorities requested to see a Christian couple in August, the couple, who’re each members of a home church, thought the assembly could be in regards to the return of a few of their belongings confiscated earlier by the Islamic regime. As a substitute, Homayoun Zhaveh and his spouse Sara Ahmadi have been detained in Tehran’s Evin Jail.

The jail has a infamous fame for its harsh remedy of individuals deemed political enemies of the state, human rights organizations instructed Morning Star News.

“Buddies are involved about their well-being, particularly as Homayoun suffers from superior Parkinson’s illness,” Christian Solidarity International (CSI) stated in an Oct. 6 assertion.

CSI and different organizations have known as for prayer for Zhaveh, 63, and Ahmadi, 44. 

The couple was first arrested in June 2019 on suspicion of belonging to an “unlawful group,” with Zhaveh spending a month in Evin Jail and Ahmadi held there for 67 days — half the time in solitary confinement, in keeping with Middle East Concern

In accordance with the non secular freedom group, in November 2020, Sara was sentenced to 11 years in jail for her alleged position in main a home church and Homayoun to 2 years for being a member of the home church. The sentence additionally included a two-year ban on overseas journey, a two-year ban on membership in any social or political group, and 6 months of neighborhood service.

At an enchantment listening to in December 2020, the convictions have been upheld, however Sara’s jail sentence was decreased to eight years, in keeping with MEC. Their lawyer requested a retrial, however the Supreme Courtroom refused the appliance in June 2021. 

Later that very same month, the couple arrived at Evin Jail positioned in northern Tehran, however as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, they have been instructed they may return house in the interim. 

Somewhat over a 12 months in a while Aug. 13, 2022, Homayoun and Sara answered a summons to the jail, anticipating to have confiscated property returned. As a substitute, they have been each detained, in keeping with the MEC.  

USCIRF Urges State Division to Acknowledge Iran’s Violations of Non secular Freedom

As CBN News reported in August, the U.S. Fee on Worldwide Non secular Freedom (USCIRF) urged the U.S. State Division to checklist Iran as a Nation of Specific Concern (CPC) for its ongoing violations of spiritual freedom.

In its 2022 annual report titled “Non secular Propaganda in Iran”, the USCIRF highlights efforts by Iran’s authorities to unfold false data and encourage a unfavorable opinion about Christianity and different non secular faiths.

Concentrating on non secular minorities over the alleged betrayal of Iran is only one aspect of the Islamic Republic’s nationalist propaganda. 

In accordance with the report, disinformation is unfold by the Iranian authorities by utilizing media retailers, which try to make sure that all content material helps the federal government’s interpretation of Ja’afri Shi’a Islam. 

Amongst these focused are Christian converts, who’re described as belonging to an “Evangelical Zionist cult.”

For instance, a January 2021 information article recounted that members of a “Zionist community” throughout a number of areas have been arrested. It alleged that the community was “creating ethical depravity” and “selling non secular conversion.” Within the earlier two years, “networks related to the Christian motion” had concerned “widespread safety efforts” within the nation, the article continued. 

USCIRF Commissioner Sharon Kleinbaum instructed CBN Information that propaganda towards Christian converts can have a dangerous impact.

“These accusations invoke geo-political conflicts and painful historic occasions for Iran’s public, which can flip many individuals towards Iran’s Christian neighborhood and make Iranian Christians much less secure,” Kleinbaum defined.

The report additionally reveals that the Iranian authorities makes use of pretend claims of nationwide safety as a cause to prosecute Christians and different non secular minorities.

Along with Christian converts, the USCIRF report highlights ways that Iran’s authorities makes use of towards Jews, Sunni Muslims, Gonabadi Sufis, and Baha’is.

Open Doorways USA, a watchdog group that displays non secular freedom abuses in over 60 nations, lists Iran because the ninth-worst nation on the earth for Christian persecution in its 2022 World Watch List

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