The Revolutionary Court of Tehran has sentenced an Iranian-Armenian Christian man to 10 years in prison for founding a house church and spreading “propaganda contrary to and disturbing to the holy religion of Islam.”
According to The Christian Post, Judge Afshari and Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran sentenced Anooshavan Avedian to 10 years in prison. The judge also convicted two others, Abbas Soori and Maryam Mohammadi. They were members of the house church.
Article 18, a U.K.-based organization that promotes religious freedom in Iran, reported that Soori and Mohammadi both are required to pay fines and have been banned from membership in social and political groups. They are also required to report to the offices of the Ministry of Intelligence regularly.
Avedian was also given 10 years of “deprivation of social rights.”
The men were arrested in August 2020 when intelligence agents raided a private meeting at Avedian’s home in northeastern Tehran. Their Bibles and phones, and other communications devices were confiscated.
According to The Christian Post, the men were psychologically tortured during interrogation.
The three men were then convicted on charges of “organizing and running an Evangelical ‘Zionist’ home church with the intention to act against national security.” They were also charged with “maintaining satellite dish and receivers.”
Judge Afshari pronounced Avedian guilty of “establishing and leading an illegal group with the aim of disrupting the security of the country through educational and propaganda activities contrary to and disturbing to the holy religion of Islam, through the dissemination of false claims … as well as contact with foreign countries, or organizational guidance from abroad.”
The Islamic Republic is ranked as the ninth-worst country in the world for Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA’s World Watch List.
“The government sees the growth of the (Christian) church in Iran as an attempt by Western countries to undermine Islam and the Islamic regime of Iran. House groups made up of converts from Muslim backgrounds are often raided, and both their leaders and members have been arrested, prosecuted and given long prison sentences for “crimes against national security.”
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.